Call leaves Panthers steaming
Corydon Central baseball coach Zach Sipes rushed from the dugout during a pivotal moment of Monday afternoon’s Class 3A North Harrison Sectional semi-final game against No. 2 Silver Creek.
Clinging to a 3-2 Panthers’ lead, Silver Creek had runners on second and third with one out. Pitcher Adam Yeager got Bryson McNay to roll over to third baseman Justin Richardson. His throw to the plate appeared to be on time when Alec Saulman placed a tag on Sammy Barnett, but the umpire ruled the game-tying run safe.
Disputing the call to no avail, Sipes retreated to the dugout. On the next pitch, Sam Hartsock lifted a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Logan Murphy. Silver Creek took the go-ahead run and eventual 4-3 win.
‘That came down to the game,’ Sipes said of the call. ‘It was a big play.’
It wasn’t the first play of the inning Sipes argued.
On Barnett’s fly ball to left, Jonathan Mattingly raced in to make a sliding catch. As Mattingly rolled over on the turf, the ball flew out of his mitt.
‘Mattingly makes a great play, but they call it safe; no catch, he said,’ Sipes said. ‘Richardson makes a great play, and they call him safe. That came down to the game.’
Corydon Central seemed to have the momentum in the top half of the sixth. Jordan Ripperdan reached base on a walk, then Clayton Schreck was nipped by a pitch. Advancing to scoring position via wild pitches, Dylan Summers laced a double to left center.
Ripperdan and Schreck came around to score, breaking a 1-all tie to give the Panthers a 3-1 lead.
A single by Cameron Allen moved Summers to third. Richardson then flew out to center, and, when Summers broke for home to tag up, he slammed on the breaks midway there. Losing his footing on the grass, Summers was caught in a run down for an out.
‘I told Summers it was on me,’ Sipes said. ‘I was expecting them to throw through, but they cut the ball and made a good play.’
Summers, one of two starting seniors for the Panthers, had a fantastic day offensively. He went 3 for 3, driving in all three runs.
‘Dylan Summers had an great game,’ Sipes said. ‘He saved his best for last. You could tell he didn’t want to go home without a sectional championship. We came up short. He had clutch at bats and in the field. He and Yeager brought their A game.’
Yeager, also a senior, went six innings on the hill for Corydon Central, striking out three. He had to work out of some jams in the early innings. An error and walk were stranded by Silver Creek in the first and third. The Dragons loaded the bases in the third when McNay reached on a dropped third strike. Yeager induced a first-pitch fly out to end the inning.
Corydon Central struck in the fourth inning with a Schreck single to start things. A single by Mattingly brought Logan Murphy on to replace Brian Campbell on the mound. Seeing a new pitcher didn’t bother the red-hot Summers, who shot a single through to plate Schreck.
The Panthers missed out on more runs when Richardson’s ground out to the pitcher resulted in a double play, cutting down both lead runners.
Through four innings, Silver Creek had left eight runners on base and were held without a hit.
In the fifth, Justin Brown had an RBI single to break up the drought, scoring Murphy who was hit by a pitch.
The 1-all score set up the wild finish. Corydon Central put the first two runners on in the seventh facing closer Barnett. Saulman, however, was picked off at second for the first out. From there, Barnett retired the next two batters to slide into the championship game.
‘What I told my team at the end, if you look at the box score, you will see six errors but we came very close to beating the No. 2 ranked team in the state,’ Sipes said. ‘I told our team we did that today with us not playing our best baseball.’
Yeager’s performance was lauded by the coach as well.
‘If you look at our season preview, we really thought pitching would be a strength this year,’ Sipes said. ‘We started the season pitching well, then, mid-season, it went away a little bit. In sectional, Gabe Fleace pitched awesome against Charlestown, then Yeager came back and pitched awesome today. Our pitching was really key these last two games.’
Murphy pitched three innings of relief to take the win. In all, Silver Creek’s three pitchers struck out four and walked four.
Sipes said he hopes the rather young Panthers seek to build on how close they were to putting away the Dragons.
‘This game shows what the kids are made of,’ he said. ‘They worked hard and competed until the very end. Hopefully, my juniors that will be seniors next year will understand what they need to bring into every game.’
Corydon Central finished with a 15-11 record.
Corydon Central 000 102 0 ‘ 3 8 5
Silver Creek 000 013 x ‘ 4 5 1
W ‘ Murphy, L ‘ Yeager, SV ‘ Barnett.
2B ‘ Summers (CC).