West Vigo’s pressure too much for Panthers
Corydon Central’s baseball team took the field Saturday at Jasper in the school’s first regional appearance in more than 40 years. The Panthers, however, couldn’t find the offensive firepower to advance any further, dropping a 10-0 decision in five innings to West Vigo in the semi-final.
The defending state runner-up in Class 3A, West Vigo, pounded 11 hits off three Corydon Central pitchers. West Vigo’s starting pitcher David Wampler had control of the Panther offense, limiting them to one hit.
‘We got away from what got us here,’ said Corydon Central coach Zach Sipes. ‘We had been doing a good job putting the ball in play, but West Vigo’s pitcher kept us off balance. He threw hard, and we struck out too many times.’
Wampler finished with seven strikeouts in five innings.
Corydon Central had a great opportunity to strike the scoreboard first during the second inning. Cody Arnold led off with the Panthers’ lone hit. The next batter, Tyler Jones, drew a walk. Both advanced a base, putting two in scoring position with no outs. Tyler Shewmaker hit a short fly ball to right field for an out, but it wasn’t deep enough to score Arnold. The Panthers loaded the bases when a pitch hit Zach Anderson. Wampler, however, closed the inning by striking out Chase Burton and Logan Hodges.
‘We loaded the bases with one out and didn’t do a good enough job shortening up and putting the ball in play,’ Sipes said. ‘Their pitcher got big Ks in big moments.’
West Vigo began scoring in the second inning off Anderson, Corydon Central’s staring pitcher. Anderson recorded the first two putouts, but a Vikings’ rally was in store. Cody Wheat stole second after hitting a single. A single off the bat of Cogan Stewart plated Wheat. Jesse Aff later scored Stewart with another Viking single. Anderson worked out of a bases-loaded jam, striking out Wampler and limiting the Vikings to a 2-0 lead.
During the next three innings, Corydon Central put one runner on base when Jones drew a walk in the fourth inning. The runner was spoiled when Shewmaker grounded into a double play.
West Vigo added two runs in the third inning, thanks to an RBI triple from Wheat. Four additional runs crossed the plate in the fourth inning, keyed by four consecutive walks. Corydon Central walked seven batters during the five innings. Burton and Arnold worked in relief, but Anderson ended up taking the loss.
The Vikings closed the game in the fifth inning when the 10th run scored on a Cody Thornton infield single with one out.
‘They put pressure on us,’ Sipes said. ‘We weren’t able to make plays quick enough on defense. They took extra bases when they could, and it just put pressure on our guys. West Vigo is a really strong team. They made our pitchers throw a lot of pitches, and, the second and third time around, they showed they could adjust. It’s hard to go down 4-0 to a good program like theirs.’
One of the most memorable seasons in baseball history ended for the Panthers. They collected just the second Mid-Southern Conference and sectional titles in school history. The Panthers finished the season with a 21-7 record.
‘We came into the season looking to be competitive, but we still set a goal to win conference and sectional,’ Sipes said. ‘We went out and accomplished those goals, but, when we come to regional, we have to stay hungry and want more. This season was a success, but (is) also a starting point for these young guys.’
Corydon Central returns all but one player, Anderson, who graduates.
‘These young kids can see what a regional is and want to get back here,’ Sipes said.