Source: The Corydon Democrat

Cougar pitchers stirke out many

by Brian Smith

April 22, 2014

North Harrison pitchers Craig Waynescott and Cameron Smith faced two batters over the minimum in a 6-1 victory over rival Crawford County last Wednesday in Ramsey.

Going six innings, Waynescott was impressive in his third outing of the young season. The lefty’s stats spoke for themselves.

Sixteen strikeouts, two hits, one run and a walk. The walk didn’t do much damage because Waynescott had eliminated the base runner by pick-off.

“I thought Craig didn’t have his velocity today, but he had his command,” North Harrison coach Jamie Polk said. “On a day like today, if you work ahead and pound the strike zone, you’ll pitch pretty well. Overall, Craig has been pitching pretty well.”

It was K after K in the score-book when Crawford County batters reached the box.

Crawford County’s Brandon Cate reached on a lead-off walk in the second inning but was eventually picked off. If Waynescott had a slight mental lapse, it was after he struck out Dakota Novak and ran toward the dugout. Problem was, it was only the second out. Despite a ribbing by teammates, Waynescott recorded the next out on strikes again.

Offensively, the Cougars came through in the third, batting around the order.

Austin Reynolds began the five-run inning with a single then swiping a pair of bags.

A walk drawn by Waynescott set the table for Jacob Faith to smack a run-scoring single. He would later score on a wild pitch.

After recording the second out in the inning, Crawford County pitcher Seth Fell struggled for a few batters. He put Alex Flock and Gage Arnold on with base on balls then hit Micah Napper with a pitch.

With the bases loaded, Konner Voyles pulled a pitch down the right-field line to score a pair of runs, giving the Cougars a 5-0 advantage.

Fell eventually escaped the frame by striking out Reynolds.

The third inning was the only rough patch Fell had on the cold and windy afternoon. Outside of giving up three hits in the third inning, Fell held steady. He finished with four strikeouts, going the distance.

Fell gave up a pair of hits in the fifth, leading to another North Harrison run. Following a Flock single and pair of swiped bases, Arnold brought him home with a double. The hit came with two outs and a tussle with two strikes. Eventually winning the at-bat, Arnold hit a big gap in left center.

“Gage had two strikes and had a good approach,” Polk said.

Having the right approach has been an area of emphasis lately for North Harrison batters.

“We can’t give up easy outs with two strikes. We have to fight,” Polk said. “We lost a few battles today, chased some we shouldn’t have, but it’s all right.”

Polk said Faith’s at-bat in the third inning was a good example of winning a battle. Combined with putting the ball in play with two strikes, Polk believes the pitching and defense will help the Cougars progress this season.

“If we pitch the way I think we can and our defense continues to play well, we’ll be tough and competitive,” he said.

Crawford County, however, had a tough time figuring out Waynescott. It wasn’t until the fifth inning that the Wolfpack put together consecutive hits.

Cate led off the inning by crushing a ball toward the left-field fence. Hitting the base of the blue windscreen, Cate settled for a double. Turning around to score, Novak brought Cate home with a single to center.

Getting back to business, Waynescott retired the next three batters, all with the strikeout.

The only other ball put in play by the Wolfpack was a weak grounder to Napper at first base in the sixth inning.

To bring the game to a close, North Harrison’s lone senior, Smith, came in as relief. Tossing in the seventh, Smith made quick work of the final three batters. He would strikeout the side, making it 19 total strikeouts for North Harrison.

“Our pitching has been pretty good,” Polk said. “We’ve been throwing a lot of strikes. Gage Arnold threw the other day and had one walk in six innings. Micah has one walk in 13 innings. We’re throwing a lot of strikes, which is good.”

Polk said part of the issue for both teams, offensively, was the playing conditions. With a stiff wind blowing into the face of batters, a chill in the air proved to be difficult.

“It’s hard to hit in conditions like this,” he said.

As a team, North Harrison finished with five hits and zero errors. The Wolfpack had two hits and committed a pair of miscues in the field.

Arnold was the lone Cougar to reach base on two occasions, via walk and a double.

“I love where we are at,” Polk said. “I know it sounds like a cliché, but I love this group. They are great kids and work hard. They are talented but young. The more we play, the better we will get. Konner and Jacob’s at-bats are examples of us already getting better. We have a long way to go, but I like where we are.”

North Harrison will return to action today (Wednesday) when it hosts Heritage Hills at 6 p.m. The next day, the Cougars will travel to rival Corydon Central for a 6 p.m. start.

Crawford County 000 010 0 – 1 2 2

North Harrison 005 010 x – 6 5 0

W – Waynescott, L – Fell.

2B – Cate (CC), Arnold (NH).

Records – Crawford Co. 1-3, No. Harrison 5-2.