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NH blasts Panthers to open tourney

Silver Creek Sectional First Round

June 03, 2009
Through five innings of the opener of the Silver Creek Baseball Sectional, it looked like North Harrison and Corydon Central would battle to the end, with both teams slapping the ball all over the park. However, the Cougars scored a seven-run sixth inning to blow the game open and oust the Panthers from tournament play, 11-5.

"Baseball is a game of outs," North Harrison coach Gregg Oppel said. "You just don't come up and hit. Defensively, we were tremendous. Every other time, we hit our cutoffs. I think (Stone) threw 16 ground balls. Defense wins ball games."

Corydon Central’s Jeremiah Windell, right, makes a flying leap into second base, but North Harrison’s Nate Smith is there, waiting with the ball to tag Windell out in the bottom of the third inning. Photo by Wade Bell
"Corydon is a very fine team," he said. "They're young, and they're going to be really strong in the next couple of years."

North Harrison scored in both the first and second innings to take a 2-0 lead.

Corydon Central came back with two runs in the bottom of the second. Zach Anderson was hit by a pitch and moved to second base on a Tyler Bube grounder and then to third on a Tyler Shewmaker single. Cougar pitcher Marcus Stone was then called for a balk, and Anderson made the easy stroll home for the Panthers' first run. Following a double steal, Jake Carnley hit a long fly to score Shewmaker.

The Cougars came back with two of their own in the top of the next inning. Stone singled and Colin Book walked to put two runners on for Dylan Janes, who smacked a double to clear the bases.

The lead held until the bottom of the fifth, when Corydon Central got two runs to even the game again, this time at 4.

The Panthers' momentum was short-lived, however, as the Cougar offense exploded their next time at the plate.

Following a Cory Powell walk and Griffin Capehart single, Corydon Central committed an error on a Lincoln Jones bunt to load the bases. Pitcher Zach Anderson then struggled with his control, walking in two runs.

Cody Arnold took over on the mound, but the runs kept coming. Colin Book walked to force in another run, and the Cougars were up, 7-4.

It didn't end there as Janes ripped his second double, plating two more runs. Chad Eveslage then singled for two more runs, and North Harrison had an 11-4 lead.

Arnold hit a solo homer over the right-field fence for the Panthers, but it wasn't enough as the Cougars went on for the 11-5 win.

"Go back to the walks, we are very selective," Oppel said. "We try to be selective. The ability to hit the ball deep allows you to be patient. We walked five or six times, and when you get runners on, then you can bunt and do different things."

North Harrison had eight hits, led by Janes' two doubles and a pair of singles by Stone. On the mound, Stone struck out four, walked three and hit two Corydon Central batters. The Cougar defense committed two errors.

"To be able to hit when you're behind in the count, that means you're putting the bat on the ball and you don't over swing," Oppel said. "I think we had one strikeout, not very many, because we put the bat on the ball."

"What I'm more impressed about than anything is our sacrifice bunts," he said. "We got them down, and if we don't get them down, we don't advance runners. We had six sacrifice bunts. That's our game. We play small ball."

Corydon Central finished with seven hits, including two for extra bases. Anderson recorded just one strikeout while walking five batters. In relief, Arnold issued one walk.

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