Just when it seemed Columbus North’s 15-0 victory against visiting Southport couldn’t get any stranger, Bull Dogs pitcher Collin Lollar decided to finish with an exclamation point.
Lollar, who had 11 strikeouts and allowed just one hit in a game halted after five innings due to the 10-run rule, unleashed a final-inning fastball to Southport’s Justin Herring that crashed into the top section of the very tall backstop behind home plate.
The pitch might have cleared the press box if the backstop hadn’t stopped it from rising.
“I don’t have an explanation for that one,” said Lollar, who continued to take grief from his teammates about the pitch long after the game ended. “I was surprised I got that much on it.”
Since his Bull Dogs had run their record to 13-1, coach Ben McDaniel could laugh about the pitch as well.
“I have no clue,” McDaniel said about the wayward pitch. “Collin is a sweater, and he always is trying to wipe his hands off on his pants. I am guessing that one just got away.”
It wasn’t the only strange occurrence Tuesday.
Southport’s defense played extremely poorly, fueling a North defense that didn’t need any help. Just about every fly ball to the outfield turned into an adventure.
Other fun stuff?
North sent seven pinch-hitters to the plate in the bottom of the fourth inning as McDaniel replaced just about everyone in his lineup.
And in the second inning, the home plate umpire lost track of the pitch count and rang up North’s Korry Drum even though he had just two strikes on him.
Drum stood at the plate while all the Southport players dashed to the dugout. McDaniel tried to convince the umpires the count was one ball, two strikes, which it was, and confusion reigned for more than five minutes as the umpires tried to decide what to do.
Since North was up 9-0 already, the Bull Dogs were told to forget about it and take the field.
It didn’t matter because the carnage continued.
North scored four runs in the first as Brice McDaniel had an RBI double and Devin Mann had an RBI triple to spark the rally. Cody Burton also had a double in the first and scored a run.
In the second, Mann, Evan Finke and Burton had RBI hits, with Finke’s being a triple. The Bull Dogs added five more runs.
North added four more runs in the third as Canaan Baum started things with a triple, McDaniel drove him home with a single and Mann added another double. Four walks and an RBI single by Finke kept things going.
The Bull Dogs capped their offensive effort with two in the fourth as reserve Wade Rankin drove in both runs with a double.
Ben McDaniel was happy to clear his bench. “It’s always nice to get those guys some varsity action,” he said. “They work just as hard as the starters and sometimes they work harder.”
Perhaps the biggest chore for North was keeping Lollar’s arm loose because he sat so long when his team was batting against a Southport team that fell to 1-10.
“It is pretty hard sitting in the dugout for that long,” Lollar said. “You have to focus on throwing strikes.”
The only hit Lollar allowed was to the Cardinals’ Dennis Maxey, who dumped a looping single to left field to open the game.
Columbus North will have to change gears as it faces a very tough Lawrence Central squad in Indianapolis on at 6 p.m. Thursday.