Cougars’ nine-run inning caps solid week
The lion may be the king of the jungle, but last Thursday in Ramsey, North Harrison’s baseball team proved Cougars are king of the diamond.
North rallied from a 3-2 deficit in the second inning to post nine runs in the third against visiting Salem. The hosts wound up winning the Mid-Southern Conference tussle, 13-3.
The Cougars sent 13 batters to the plate in the third frame, with every position in the order scoring at least once in the nine-run inning. The win pushed the hosts’ record to 10-2 on the season and a perfect 4-0 in league play.
‘I felt like we were loosey goosey coming over here,’ North skipper Danny Schmidt said. ‘We’d just come off playing some tough teams and came out here against a conference opponent that really hadn’t fared well the last couple of years. We just couldn’t afford a loss. We had a big talk over here before we took infield and I thought after that we really came ready to play.’
With two outs, Brenden Zellers and Zach Janes each singled in the bottom of the first. Zellers wound up scoring on an error, with Janes coming across on a double by Adam Kiesler for a 2-0 lead.
North’s starting pitcher, Cody Johnson, gave up three runs in the top of the second inning, with two of those being unearned.
Sean Clark led off with a bunt single, which was followed by a pair of errors that allowed Joe Spaulding and Seth Wynn to reach base.
With no outs, Joe Philpott walked for an easy RBI, and then Isaac Stockrahm knocked in Spaulding with an infield single.
Bud Hendricks walked for another run, which gave the visiting Lions a 3-2 lead with the bases loaded and no outs.
Schmidt hooked Johnson and inserted Janes, who promptly got Will Deaton to ground into a double-play and Alex Potter to ground out to second.
‘In a conference game you can’t get behind many runs. I hated to pull (Johnson), but I almost had to push the panic button there and get Zach in to close the door and keep us in the game,’ Schmidt said.
Neither club scored in their next turn at bat, however that changed in the bottom of the third, when the Cougars put the game away.
Zellers flew out to left to kick off the inning. Janes singled and scored on a three-bagger to the gap in left-center by Whittinghill.
Kiesler singled in a run, which was followed by a bloop hit by Tyler Schmidt. Zach Sullivan reached on a fielder’s choice, and then Jordan Byrne ripped a double that scored a pair of runs.
Jon Knight lined out to second for the second out of the inning, but the Cougars weren’t done with their scoring.
Eveslage doubled for two more runs, then Zellers reached on an error. Janes belted a double to the gap in right-center for two RBI, then Whittinghill capped the scoring with a RBI triple.
Salem never recovered, going scoreless over the final three innings.
North finished the game via the mercy rule in the bottom of the fifth.
Eveslage and Zellers singled before Janes was retired via strikeout. Whittinghill reached on a fielder’s choice, then Eveslage scored on a wild pitch, moving Whittinghill to third. Kiesler came through with a hit to mark the game-winning run.
The Cougars finished the week 4-0, including victories over Jeffersonville, Providence, Floyd Central and Salem.
‘We had an awful good week. We’ll have a tough week again next week with Scottsburg on Monday, New Albany on Wednesday, Silver Creek on Thursday and then a double-header against Madison on Saturday,’ Schmidt said. ‘It’s a big week and then we get a chance to catch our breath with a small layoff the following week.
‘I’m really proud of this team. We’ve done a lot of good things for a young team. We’re about halfway through the season and ahead of our expectations. We just have to finish it now.’
Thanks to a fifth-inning solo home run by Zellers, the Cougars were able to upend host Providence, 2-1.
North Harrison pounded out 10 hits in the affair, which was highlighted by a couple of defensive gems.
‘We really played well and beat a good team,’ Schmidt said. ‘Two key plays gave us the win. In the fourth inning we executed a perfect relay on a base hit to nail their runner at the plate. Adam Kiesler made a perfect throw to first baseman Zach Sullivan. Sullivan then made a great throw to Zellers who tagged the runner out.’
In the seventh inning, Providence’s Cook led off with a single and moved to second on a throwing error. An attempted pickoff went awry and Cook moved to third as the ball bounced into center field.
With the tying run 90 feet away, Whittinghill came on to pitch Graff hit a ball to Jon Knight at second base with the infield pulled in. Knight threw to Zellers and the Cougars got Cook out in a run-down. Graff went to second base. Jones followed with a groundout to second, advancing the runner to third. Hardin then hit a 1-2 pitch that first baseman Zach Sullivan went for and threw back to Whittinghill covering the base.
North’s first run came in the top of the second. Whittinghill, Kiesler and Jim Bob Schuler all singled, then Knight walked for the RBI.
Derek Harbeson pitched six strong innings against the Pioneers (6-4), giving up just four hits, striking out three and walking two.
North defeated homestanding Jeffersonville by five, 14-9.
Schuler picked up his first win of the season, coming in for relief of Whittinghill. Schuler struck out three in the final four innings and allowed just four hits and two runs.
After scoring four in the top of the first and three in the second, the Cougars posted a five-spot in the fourth inning to effectively put the game out of reach.
With two outs, Jordan Byrne was hit by a pitch and Harbeson singled. Schmidt doubled in a pair of runs. Johnson and Eveslage both walked, then Zellers blasted another two-bagger for three RBI.
The Red Devils (1-9) managed three runs in the second and third innings, but only scored single runs in three of the remaining four frames.
‘Anytime you beat Jeff it’s a good win,’ Schmidt said. ‘I thought we really hit the ball well, collecting 15 hits. Zellers and (Tyler) Schmidt both had key doubles with men on base.’