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North Harrison unable to cash in chances vs. Pirates

North Harrison unable to cash in chances vs. Pirates
North Harrison unable to cash in chances vs. Pirates
Charlestown's Alex Smith slides into the back leg of North Harrison catcher Brad Nowak, causing Nowak to throw a ball away in the third inning. The play, disputed by North Harrison coach Jamie Polk as interference, stood, allowing two Pirates runs to score. Photo by Brian Smith

During the first three innings in the Class 3A Madison Sectional Saturday, North Harrison put the lead-off runner on each go-round. Unfortunately for the Cougars, they couldn’t generate go-ahead runs with the chances.
Backed by a fifth-inning, two-run homer by Daniel Sprinkle, Charlestown went on to end North Harrison’s baseball season, 5-1.
‘We had chances and them on the ropes in the early innings and didn’t get it done,’ North Harrison coach Jamie Polk said.
Facing Charlestown starter Darren Taylor, North Harrison’s Craig Waynescott began the game with a single. Waynescott, however, was caught stealing second during Jacob Faith’s at-bat. Working a walk, Faith reached base but Taylor was able to leave the inning without surrendering a run.
To start the second inning, Micah Napper drew a four-pitch walk, but teammate Gage Arnold wasn’t able to lay down a sac bunt to advance him.
Konner Voyles reached on a fielder’s choice then an Andrew Battista walk put runners at second and third. North Harrison’s Noah Yost wasn’t able to come up with a hit with two outs.
‘Our goal, seeing (Taylor) before, was to make him throw a lot of pitches,’ Polk said. ‘It worked, but the problem is, we have to get runs there. If we get a couple, the pressure is on them.’
Similar to the Cougars, the Pirates left three on through the first two innings.
A single by Waynescott and a walk to Faith prompted a solid start to the third for NH. Charlestown coach Ricky Romans went to the pen, bringing in Colin Martin to stop the damage. A caught stealing of Waynescott then two punch-outs ended another opportunity.
In the bottom half of the third, Charlestown scored, but not without debate from the Cougar skipper on a no-call at the plate.
North Harrison starter Arnold saw Alex Smith beat out an infield single. Scuffling on the mound, Arnold walked the next two batters to load the bases.
The next batter, Tanner Wesp, hit a sharp grounder back to Arnold. Firing home for one out, catcher Brad Nowak was clipped in the leg by Smith well after the out was recorded. The contact made Nowak’s throw toward first fall about halfway there.
Due to the throw, two runners came in behind Smith to score. Despite a lengthy conversation with the home-plate ump, Polk was unable to convince him of an interference call.
‘We make a great play with the bases loaded, then Brad gets his legs clipped,’ Polk said. ‘That’s our fault because we shouldn’t have been in that situation. Then, as it happens, it should have been a 2-2 game, nothing hurt, if we executed in the first two innings.’
Martin recorded eight straight outs despite North Harrison stinging the ball several times.
‘We battled and didn’t give up,’ Polk said. ‘We smoked some balls but don’t get anything out of it. Noah and Konner smoke some balls, Alex (Flock) crushes one and they are right at guys. That’s baseball.’
Charlestown put up three in the fifth inning to go ahead 5-0.
A one-out double by Drew Reich eventually led the Pirates third baseman to score on a wild pitch later in the frame. With two outs, Wesp’s single was followed by Sprinkle’s blast over the center-field fence.
‘The home run was tough to give up,’ Polk said.
North Harrison didn’t go away easily. Singles by Faith and Napper gave them opportunities in the sixth, but the team couldn’t cash in.
The seventh was similar with Voyles beginning with a single. An error on a ball hit by Battista put two on. Voyles eventually scored when Martin was called for a balk, the second of the game by the Pirates.
Similar to other innings when the Cougars threatened, the Pirates found a way to the end. Two straight strike outs by Martin then a fly-out ended the game.
‘We didn’t do enough to win,’ Polk said.
Arnold took the loss, going five innings, striking out five and walking four.
‘Gage didn’t have his stuff and got tired,’ Polk said. ‘Until the fifth inning, there wasn’t a hard hit ball given up.’
Arnold gave way to North Harrison’s lone senior, Cameron Smith, in the sixth. Smith recorded a quick 1-2-3 inning, closing it with a strike-out of Jordan Hensley-Cole.
Charlestown barely led in the hit column, 6-5, but were able to score on chances better than the Cougars. Sprinkle finished 2 for 3.
Waynescott was the only North Harrison batter with two hits, going 2 for 4. Battista and Napper would reach base twice.
The Cougars finished the season 17-8.
Charlestown advanced to the sectional championship game then lost to Silver Creek 9-6 to give the Dragons their fourth title in a row.

North Harrison 000 000 1 ‘ 1 5 2
Charlestown 002 030 x ‘ 5 6 2
W ‘ Martin, L ‘ Arnold.
2B ‘ Reich (C); HR ‘ Sprinkle (C).