Source: The Corydon Democrat

7-run inning lifts Panthers in opener

by Brian Smith

April 15, 2014

Scrimmaging South Central the week before gave Corydon Central skipper Zach Sipes a better feeling of what to expect in game situations with his rather young baseball team.

That, however, was just a scrimmage.

Those players inexperienced at the varsity level didn’t show much hesitation in the season opener against visiting Tri-County from Michigan.

Freshman Gumm led the way with a three-hit day, two for doubles, helping Corydon Central rally for a 13-6 victory last Wednesday.

More than half the runs, seven to be exact, came in the fourth inning when the Panthers batted around.

“With this group, especially being the first game, I had no idea what to expect tonight,” Sipes said. “The hitting in the fourth inning, when we batted around, it kept our confidence growing.”

Entering the fourth inning down 4-3, many Panthers touched multiple bases leading to the seven spot.

Leading off the frame were a pair of veteran faces in Tyler Stauth and Dalton Arnold, who reached on a walk and double, respectively.

Alex Engleman followed by reaching on a walk before Tri-County recorded its first out with a strikeout.

Then the hits came.

Jordan Ripperdan blooped a single in front of the outfield on the first pitch he saw. Following suit, Joseph Pryor singled to right field.

Clearing the bases was Gumm, who smashed a worm burner through the left side of the infield to score two. A third run came across on a Vikings throwing error as Gumm marched to third. He eventually came home when Alec Saulman went the other way for a single. To make it five straight singles, Adam Yeager reached by beating out a ball hit on the infield.

In all, seven runs crossed the plate, with the final coming when Stauth grounded out.

With a 9-4 lead, the Panthers continued to pile on runs in the next two frames.

In the fifth, it was watchful eyes by Corydon Central that paid off. Engleman, Elijah Terrell, Pryor, Gumm and Saulman drew walks. Gumm, after reaching by hits his first three times up, was intentionally given a free pass. Both Terrell and Pryor scored on wild pitches.

Trailing 11-4, Tri-County made some noise in the top of the sixth. A two-run single plated a pair of unearned runs.

Corydon Central would get thse runs back in the bottom half with Terrell hitting an RBI single and Ripperdan plating a run with a sac fly.

In all, the Panthers pounded out 11 hits against four arms they took on from the Vikings.

Ripperdan and Gumm had three hits each. Gumm finished with three RBIs.

At the plate, Sipes plugged in Gumm and Saulman, both first-year players, in the middle of the lineup.

“After our scrimmage with South, we really liked Gumm and Saulman’s approach,” Sipes said. “They go up to the box and own it. Tonight, they brought that same mentality.”

Sipes said Gumm’s big day was impressive for a debut.

“For a freshman in his first varsity game, it’s a pretty good start,” Sipes said.

One of the keys the coach looked for out of the young team is quality at-bats. Charting the game, he credited the team with 31 of 39 at-bats described as quality.

“It’s not bad for a lot of underclassmen,” Sipes said. “Our two seniors (Terrell and Arnold) got on base several times, too.”

If there were complaints about the opening game, it was the pair of errors that led to Tri-County runs in the second inning, Sipes said.

Holding on to a 2-1 lead, Tri-County scored when a pair of routine fly balls in the outfield were dropped. The miscues led to three unearned runs.

“The only complaint was a few moments on defense,” Sipes said. “Those fly balls that were missed were a few too many. Those are errors we shouldn’t have made.”

Corydon Central was able to bounce back a few innings later to notch seven runs and secure the win.

“They stayed composed for a young team,” Sipes said.

Coming off a Mid-Southern Conference championship and losing nearly all Panthers arms to graduation, Corydon Central may have been worried about pitching.

Giving the Panthers quality innings against Tri-County were Arnold and Stauth.

Earning the start, Arnold struck out seven and walked two in 4-1/3 innings. Pitching in relief, Stauth scored the win, striking out eight during 2-2/3 innings.

“Going into the season we thought pitching would be a weakness,” Sipes said. “I told the guys after the game that Arnold and Stauth threw well; they threw strikes. We’ll need that approach out of our other guys.”

Brandon Peterman was the top player for Tri-County. He finished with a pair of hits and scored three times.

Corydon Central will hit the diamond today (Wednesday) to play at Jeffersonville at 5 p.m. They will return home to face Charlestown tomorrow at 7 p.m. The Pirates defeated Corydon Central 1-0 in the Class 3A Sectional semi-final last season.

Tri-County (Mich.) 130 002 0 – 6 7 2

Corydon Central 200 722 x – 13 11 4

W – Stauth.

2B – Gumm 2 (CC), Arnold (CC), Guthrie (TC).