Win streak extends to 12 for NH
The night before, it was defense and pitching to land North Harrison a 4-1 win over Jeffersonville.
Offense, however, stole the show the following day when the Cougars had to fend off several comeback attempts by host Providence to score a 9-7 win in eight innings. The win was the 12th in a row for the Class 3A No. 6 Cougars.
‘We’re playing well a lot, and the times we aren’t playing well, they are finding ways to win,’ said North Harrison skipper Jamie Polk. ‘Our kids don’t quit, which is a great trait to have.’
North Harrison had a 7-5 lead going into the bottom of the seventh, but an error, followed by a collision among infielders, allowed the Pioneers to tie the game. Providence’s Ben Katchur hit a slow roller that drew third baseman Kyle Jennings and shortstop Collin Book to the ball near the edge of the infield grass. The two collided while going for the ball, allowing Nick Campbell to cross the plate and tie the game at 7.
Book was slow to get up after the play but remained in the game.
North Harrison relief pitcher Tyler Cockerham ended the seventh inning by forcing Cristian Ensley to pop out.
Out came the bats in the eighth for North Harrison. Jennings began the parade of hits with a shot through the right side. Following a failed sac bunt attempt, Derrick Harter and Book reached on singles, loading the bases for Michael Cox.
Delivering the clutch hit, Cox lined a ball to right field, scoring the two decisive runs.
‘We blew a two-run lead, and it’s hard to come back when you’re on the road and it’s rainy,’ Polk said. ‘We had a couple plays to end it and caught bad breaks when Providence came back and tied it. (Cox) came in and was lights out.’
Cox came in for the eighth on the mound to close the door on the game for the save. He faced three batters, getting two fly outs and a ground out.
Jordan Robbeloth started the game on the hill, striking out four in six innings. He was aided by a four-run fifth inning, giving the Cougars a 6-2 lead.
All coming with two outs, five consecutive North Harrison batters reached base, starting with a Jennings single. Josh Wenning followed with a single, and both eventually came around to score on throwing errors by Providence catcher Nick Campbell.
Later in the inning, Harter and Book reached on a walk and single, respectively. Cox, coming up with another big hit, drove in two with a double to left.
‘Most of our runs up to the final inning were with two outs,’ Polk said. ‘That goes back to not giving up or giving in to pitchers.’
Unlucky breaks for the Cougars allowed Providence to score three runs in the bottom of the third. A pair of bloop singles led to runs, but the home team caught a bigger break when the infield lip created two RBIs for Justin Starr. His hard-hit grounder toward Book seemed destined for a double play but caught the lip and shot over Book’s head into center field.
Robbeloth shook off the bad breaks and recorded the final three outs of the inning, the last striking out Ben Katchus.
‘I was proud of Jordan; he got through it without his best stuff,’ Polk said. ‘But Jordan, we know, is a legit No. 1 for us. We know what he can do, and he hung in there for us.’
The teams combined for 25 hits, with North Harrison collecting 13.
‘Early in the game, their pitcher (Brenden Popson) had our number,’ Polk said. ‘Once we started going the other way with it, we had success. Kyle Jennings to lead off the eighth was a big hit. His last two at-bats were great. Derrick Harter, the last inning, hits a ball hard up the middle. It was good hitting and they didn’t quit.’
It was the 12th win in a row for North Harrison. Polk said Harter pitched a tremendous game in a 4-1 win over Jeffersonville on Tuesday. On Monday, the Cougars outlasted Tell City, 12-11.
‘We preach that it’s OK to make mistakes, because they happen in baseball, but it’s what you learn from them that will make the difference,’ Polk said. ‘Right now, we’re doing pretty well. We were a little sloppy Monday (vs. Tell City) and a little sloppy tonight, but last night we played a gem of a game against Jeffersonville.’
North Harrison turned around and made it a four-win week with a 13-7 decision over Salem.
The Cougars jumped to No. 3 in the latest Class 3A poll and will face Mid-Southern Conference rival, 3A No. 4 Silver Creek, Thursday at 5 p.m. in Sellersburg.