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Floyd shuts out Panthers

Floyd shuts out Panthers
Floyd shuts out Panthers
Floyd Central pitcher Max Tripure had a big day on the mound against visiting Corydon Central, striking out 10 Panthers’ batters in the Highlanders’ 9-0 win. Photo by Wade Bell
By Wade Bell, Sports Writer

The Floyd Central Highlanders, after beating up on Jeffersonville last Tuesday, came back the next day to shut out visiting Corydon Central in a 9-0 win. The Panthers struggled against the pitching of junior Max Tripure as they watched their game going into the loss column.

“It was like that at Tell City,” said Floyd Central coach Casey LaDuke. “We had a lot of walks with our pitchers, but at times they looked really, really good. We did a lot of good things, but we just had to clean up some stuff. Max looked really, really good the other night at Tell City.”

“Our end-game adjustments have got to change,” said Corydon Central coach Robby Ort. “I told the kids in the outfield after the game you’ve got to adjust at-bat to at-bat and at the end at-bats. Our swing right now is too long, especially with a pitcher like Tripure that’s throwing in the mid-80s.”

A weather delay for heavy rain and lightning set the game back by an hour before the first pitch was thrown. When the teams went to the field, the Panthers went three up and out in their first at-bat.

Floyd Central’s first at-bat put them on the board. With two outs, Casey Sorg ripped a single then moments later stole second. Caleb Slaughter followed with a single to score Sorg, and the Highlanders had a 1-0 lead.

Corydon Central continued to struggle at the plate against Tripure’s pitching, coming up scoreless in the second and third innings.

In the second inning, the Highlanders put together three runs. Tristan Polk and Evan Goforth both singled then advanced on a passed ball. Bailey Taylor reached first on a Corydon Central error that scored Polk. Dylan Hogan reached first on a second Panthers’ error that scored Goforth. With one out, Jake Thompson sent a long fly ball to center field, scoring Taylor, and the Highlanders had a 4-0 lead.

Tripure appeared to get stronger as the game wore on, striking out the side in the top of the third.

In the bottom of the inning, Floyd Central rang up three more runs. Sorg singled and stole second on a dropped ball. Slaughter followed with a single, scoring Sorg. Polk walked, and moments later Caleb Miller, running for Slaughter, and Polk pulled off a double steal. Goforth grounded out to second, but Miller crossed the plate for a run. With two outs, Corydon Central erred again, allowing Polk to score, and the Floyd Central lead ballooned to 7-0.

“We had some blunders there in the outfield and a couple in the infield that led to runs,” said Ort. “We’ve got three errors up there on the scoreboard, but in my book we’ve probably got five. It’s hard to win a ballgame when you make multiple errors and give them free bases and free runs. A team like Floyd Central is going to take advantage of those opportunities. Then, you’ve got Tripure on the mound and it’s hard to come back from.”

Neither team scored in the fourth, and the Panthers failed to convert runs in the top of the sixth and seventh despite getting runners on base. Floyd Central got runs by Miller again in the bottom of the fifth and Sorg scored for the Highlanders in the bottom of the six leading to complete the 9-0 shutout.

“No errors, that’s good,” said LaDuke. “We bunted a little bit and tried to do some things we’ve done in practice. What we’ve got to be careful with is, and it happened with Jeff a little bit and we’ve been good enough to get some leads early, we just fall into this little zone where we lose our focus at the plate. We’ve got to keep going.”

“You’ve got to tip your cap for Floyd,” Ort said. “They’ve got some hitters on their team.”

The Highlanders had eight hits for the night, with Sorg hitting on safely three times and Slaughter getting two hits. Tripure had 10 strikeouts for the seven innings and walked five. Floyd Central had no errors and left nine runners on base.

“I thought he did a great job,” LaDuke said of Tripure. “He was very good on the plate, and he was very good on the mound. He’s got a little pop, and he’s been a surprise. It’s funny because all of my coaches, since my kids play travel ball a lot, this is only my first time I get to see them at this level. He’s surprised me. He’s got some zip on his fast ball, and he’s got a nice little curve ball. He’s been really good so far this year.”

“It felt good up there,” Tripure said. “I just wanted to come up here and throw strikes a lot. It’s my first start of the year for me, and I wanted to throw as many strikes as I can. My fast ball was looking good, and my curve ball was pretty good throughout the whole game. You just get some energy throughout and stay healthy. I wasn’t feeling anything, so I was throwing hard.”

After the season was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tripure said he wanted to help the team as much as he could while they were still able to play the game.

“I’m looking to try to get as many wins as I can on the mound and help my team out because there’s a big emphasis on controlling the ball and winning a lot of games this year,” Tripure said. “I was really looking forward to playing last year, but I’ve got to give it a shot this year and fulfill my role.”

“Tip your hat to him,” Ort said. “He threw a heck of a ballgame. He worked from ahead and, once you get ahead of hitters, it’s tough to catch up to it. He mixed in his breaking ball when he needed to, and it was tough to hit him tonight. That’s probably the best pitcher we’ve seen this year. Our guys couldn’t make the adjustments we needed to make in order to be successful. He came out and did what he had to.”

Corydon Central finished with two hits for the game, those coming from Jacob Charles and Kyle Deardorff. Justin Drury and Jose Perez combined for three strikeouts, four walks and three hit batters. The Panthers had five errors and left four runners on base.

Floyd Central allowed just four hits in their back-to-back games against Jeffersonville and Corydon Central, and LaDuke said that’s a sign his pitchers are headed in the right direction.

“We thought one of the strengths of our team last year was our pitching staff, and it’s the same thing this year,” he said. “We think we can run five, six or seven guys out there that are pretty dang good. So, we think that’s one of our big strengths of the team, our pitching. We struggled a little bit that first game, but they’ve done pretty good the last few nights.”

Corydon Central       000   000   0 – 0   2   5

Floyd Central            133   011   X – 9   8   0

W-Tripure, L-Drury; 1B-Sorg (FC) 2, Slaughter (FC) 2, Polk (FC), Goforth (FC), Hogan (FC), Charles (CC), K. Deardorff (CC); 2B-Sorg (FC).