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Silver Creek edges North Harrison, 6-3

Silver Creek edges North Harrison, 6-3
Silver Creek edges North Harrison, 6-3
North HarrisonÂ’s Sean Murphy works four innings of relief Thursday without giving up a run to Class 3A No. 6 Silver Creek. Photo by Brian Smith (click for larger version)

A four-run first inning for visiting Class 3A No. 6 Silver Creek was enough to hold off North Harrison in baseball Thursday in Ramsey.
The Cougars fought back against the Dragons’ ace pitcher, Kyle Briner, but weren’t able to make up the difference, losing 6-3.
‘After getting down to 4-0, I thought our approach was good, especially at the plate,’ North Harrison coach Gregg Oppel said. ‘We really adjusted and hit the ball hard. Briner is going to get his strikeouts, but we still hit him hard at times.’
Silver Creek took the lead in a hurry in the opening inning. Layne Taylor drew a lead-off walk and advanced to third after stealing second and a J.D. Ehringer sacrifice.
A string of doubles from Jacob Armstrong, Briner and Jared Vest began the scoring for the Dragons. An error allowed the fourth run to score, prompting a 4-0 lead for Silver Creek’s Briner on the mound.
North Harrison got a run back in the bottom half when Collin Book connected for one of his two hits. Book eventually scored when Lincoln Jones plated him.
Helping his cause in the third inning, Briner reached on a lead-off single, starting a two-run frame.
With the deficit at 6-1, North Harrison continued to fight back.
Josh Wenning pulled the ball in the right centerfield gap to the fence for a triple. He was brought home when Book grounded into a out.
The lead was cut in half in the sixth inning when Book smashed another hard hit ball for a triple. A Briner wild pitch later allowed Book to score North Harrison’s third run.
Comeback thoughts, however, ended there as Silver Creek took the Mid-Southern Conference win.
‘Wenning, Book and Lincoln hit the ball hard,’ Oppel said. ‘A few of those balls would’ve been out of most ballparks, including at Silver Creek.’
Michael Cox opened the game on the bump for the Cougars and surrendered five earned runs during three innings. Cox moved to behind the plate for the final four innings, relieving Wyatt Faith of catching duties.
‘I told the boys the game was on me,’ Oppel said. ‘We had (Faith) with elbow problems behind the plate, and it started to bother him. We tried to go with him, but his arm continued to bother him. He will probably DH for us for the time being. His injury allowed Silver Creek to steal a few bases until Cox got back there.’
A bright spot for the Cougars was the work of relief pitcher Sean Murphy. The tall right hander held the Dragons scoreless during four innings, despite loading the bases twice. They were loaded in the fifth, but Murphy struck out Taylor to end the inning. Bases were full again in the seventh, but a routine ground ball allowed Murphy and the Cougars to escape.
Murphy gave up six hits and struck out two.
‘Murphy has been our best pitcher besides Jordan Robbeloth. He has picked up velocity and can throw four pitches for strikes,’ Oppel said. ‘The only complaint I have is he gave up two hits when the count was in his favor. But he had a good outing against the No. 6 team in the state.’
Briner pitched seven innings, gave up five hits and struck out seven. He also had two hits.
‘Briner is one of the elite pitchers in Southern Indiana,’ Oppel said. ‘To me, the difference in the ballgame was defense, because you can’t make three errors and expect to win.’
Oppel said his team had taken infield once in the past 10 days and that was pre-game before facing Jeffersonville.
‘Our field has drainage problems, so we had to bring in 15 loads of sand to help dry the outfield,’ he said. ‘We just have to get some field time, and, when we do, our defense will get there.’
The Cougars bounced back Friday to defeat Scottsburg, 10-0.
The next game for North Harrison will be tomorrow (Thursday) at Austin at 6:15 p.m. followed by playing in the Jasper Classic this weekend.