|North Harrison left fielder Derrick Harter makes a diving attempt on a ball against Lanesville. Photo by Brian Smith|
Cougars open with 11-1 win over Lanesville
April 06, 2011Practicing several days in the cold — and sometimes in freezing rain and flurries — North Harrison expected its opening game on Thursday would have the same weather conditions.
Contrary to the practices, the first game of the season against Lanesville featured plenty of sun, although cool, as the Cougars pounded out nine hits for an 11-1 five-inning win over the Eagles.
"Jordan Robbeloth pitched one heck of a game, especially this early in the season," North Harrison coach Gregg Oppel said. "He had great command, had one walk. He should've had a shutout, but an error cost us that."
North Harrison's Dylan Janes put together a 4-for-4 evening, including three singles, a double and two RBIs. He kicked off the scoring in the first inning with a single to plate leadoff hitter Josh Wenning.
In the first inning, the Cougars loaded the bases when Mitch Bolin and Michael Cox reached base. Lanesville pitcher Brandon Blackerby got out of the jam, striking out his counterpart, Robbeloth.
Ben Baumgart had one of Lanesville's two hits in the second inning. He was later thrown out by Cox while attempting to steal second base.
North Harrison piled on the runs in the second inning. Wenning followed a Tyler Cockerham walk with a single. Cockerham later scored on a Collin Book sacrifice fly. Janes brought Wenning around to score when he split the first and second basemen with a single through the infield.
With two outs, Lincoln Jones reached on an error to extend North Harrison's inning. Bolin made the Eagles pay with a single through the infield, plating two. He eventually came around to score on a Cox double.
"It took us a little longer than I thought to stay back on the ball," Oppel said. "We began to hit a few opposite field balls. A lot of people think you need to pull those curveballs and changeups, but we want our guys to look and go the other way. Our guys did a nice job doing that and drove in some runs."
Lanesville took advantage of a North Harrison error to score its lone run in the fourth inning.
After Joel Ferree reached on the miscue, Alex Mix drove him home with a single to left field. Mix was later picked off by the lefty Robbeloth, spoiling a rally.
"Robbeloth doesn't throw very hard, but his command was really there," Oppel said. "Tonight, he had some pop on the ball. He has a great pick-off move and he showed that."
Errors plagued the Eagles, who committed six for the game.
"All of our pitchers have pitched well, but we gave up too many outs," Eagles coach Sean Smith said. "We gave up three runs but gave up four outs in a row in the fourth. Defensively, we're not there. Our pitchers are throwing strikes, so we are where we want to be with that."
Smith said he saw good things at the plate but added there is room to work.
"I wanted to be a little more aggressive at the plate," he said. "We took a lot of good pitches, and it puts us behind in the count. We are making contact and not striking out a lot, and we made them make plays. That was kind of the story of the game: they made defensive plays and we didn't. If we make ours, it's probably a three-, four-run game."
In the fourth inning, the Eagles made several errors. Janes reached on a double to center when miscommunication allowed the ball to fall between fielders. Two additional errors allowed runs to score later in the frame.
Blackerby was lifted for Aaron Borders in the inning. Borders allowed two additional runs via a walk and sacrifice fly before striking out Cockerham.
North Harrison closed the game with two runs in the fifth to reach the run-rule mark. Pinch runner Kyle Jennings scored the game-ender on a Bolin sac fly.
"We have a lot to still work on," Oppel said. "We missed a few cutoffs and were a bit slower than I'd like, but it's the first game. Overall, I'm pleased. It was a good start to the season."
Lanesville won its season opener, 20-10, over Cannelton on March 29.