Late rally lifts Corydon over NH
A five-run, sixth-inning rally Thursday brought the Corydon Central baseball team back from a sluggish first few innings to knock off rival North Harrison, 6-4, in Mid-Southern Conference action in Corydon.
North Harrison built a 4-1 lead after three innings and held the Panthers hitless through five. North Harrison starting pitcher Lincoln Jones had a shaky first inning, but, after that, he was in control until the sixth.
Jones took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, but that was when the Corydon Central offense came to life. Tyler Shewmaker started the inning with a single, followed by Tyler Jones and Chase Burton drawing walks to load the bases.
Jeremiah Windell came to the plate next and lined the first pitch he saw to the outfield grass, plating Shewmaker. Jones cut North Harrison’s lead to one, 4-3, when he crossed the plate on a passed ball. Jake Carnley then gave the Panthers the big clutch hit. The junior pulled the ball through the left side of the infield, scoring two runs for a 5-4 Panther lead. Carnley eventually scored on a passed ball, prompting the 6-4 final.
‘Give credit to Lincoln Jones; he threw one heck of a game,’ Corydon Central coach Zach Sipes said. ‘He had us off balance most of the night. Shewmaker got it going. We did a good job after that, hitting the bases and going. We knew if we could use our speed and put pressure on North Harrison when we had runners on, it could pay off.’
Jones was then lifted for relief pitcher Jared Smith, who recorded the final three outs. Corydon Central’s Zach Anderson had the only extra base hit for the Panthers, a bloop double behind second base.
‘Early (Corydon Central was) flat, because they didn’t hit the way they have been,’ North Harrison coach Gregg Oppel said. ‘They put pressure on you with base running, and, once they got a little momentum, they just drove it down our throats. Maybe I should have taken Lincoln out earlier, but he threw the ball well after a little trouble with the mound. He didn’t have his velocity, but he could locate.’
Jones struck out five in five innings of work.
The win was the 11th in a row for the Corydon Central Panthers, who improved to 11-2 overall.
‘Everybody is having a good time,’ Sipes said. ‘The last few games we have won, but (they) have been close games. A lot of different guys have seen opportunities to play, and we are all on the same page right now.’
‘We practice defense more than we do hitting,’ Oppel said. ‘We are doing everything we can to get better on defense, and, right now, we just aren’t carrying it over to the game. You can’t win games on passed balls in critical situations.’
Lucas Windell scored in the first inning after Shewmaker reached on a North Harrison error. The unearned run gave the Panthers a 1-0 edge.
After the score, Corydon Central had a rough time putting together solid innings until the sixt.
North Harrison came back during the next two innings to take the lead. In the second inning, Wyatt Faith reached on a leadoff single followed by Mitch Bolin reaching via a walk. Corydon Central turned a double play up the middle on a ball off Joe Bolin’s bat, but walks afterward hurt the Panthers.
Starting pitcher Zach Anderson walked two in a row to load the bases. North Harrison’s Collin Book delivered with a two-run single, forging North Harrison ahead.
North Harrison added to the lead in the third, tallying two additional runs. Three Panther errors, combined with North Harrison singles from Mitch and Joe Bolin, gave the Cougars a 4-1 edge.
‘In the third inning, we had too many errors and North Harrison put pressure on us, taking a 4-1 lead,’ Sipes said. ‘That was probably the worst inning we’ve played all year. And just to be down 4-1, we knew if we could stick around, our bats would come alive at some point.’
Anderson made it through 2-2/3 innings before being lifted for Cody Arnold. In the early stages of the game, while playing first base, Arnold crashed into the fence chasing a foul ball. On the mound, Arnold was effective, keeping North Harrison off the board. The Cougars threatened in the top of the fifth when Mitch Bolin doubled and Joe Bolin drew a walk.
Sipes said Arnold’s arm, which was injured in the crash with the wall, was bothering him, so he took him out for freshman Chase Burton.
Burton delivered, closing out the final two innings for his fifth win on the season.
‘It is nice to have a freshman come in and pitch the way he did,’ Sipes said.
For North Harrison, Oppel is looking for a leader to emerge.
‘I’m looking for the guy to get on other players to step it up,’ he said. ‘We are too passive. I know we can still get there; we just don’t have the leadership yet to win a sectional.’
North Harrison travels to Providence today (Wednesday) for a 5 p.m. start followed by hosting MSC foe Salem tomorrow at 6:15 p.m.
Corydon Central heads to Silver Creek today at 5 p.m. and returns home to face Silver Creek tomorrow at 5 p.m.