It takes a pretty strong wind to mess with Collin Lollar’s control, and the near-40 mph variety that swept through Columbus North’s baseball complex Saturday morning did that only slightly.
The Ohio State-bound fireballer allowed Franklin two runs and four hits in five innings, while striking out eight and walking three, in a 7-2 victory in the Bull Dogs’ season opener. Then, in the second game of a doubleheader, North pounded 12 hits in a 13-3, five-inning win.
“I thought my control was a little shaky with the wind,” Lollar said. “It was hard to control the fastball a little bit. This is the worst (wind) I’ve ever pitched in. I literally had to step off (the mound) because I felt like it was going to blow me over. You had to keep it low because if anybody got it up, it was going to go a long way.”
Lollar’s cousin, left-hander Jacob Lollar, came on to pitch two hitless innings of relief in the opener. Jacob Lollar struck out three and walked one.
Then in the second game, Nathan Van- Deventer threw a seven-hitter. He struck out two and did not walk a batter but hit three Grizzly Cubs.
“I thought Collin and Nathan both threw well,” North coach Ben McDaniel said. “They’re arguably our 1-2, and they’re a little bit behind where we wanted them from a development standpoint. Jacob gives us a different look that we’re able to throw, and he came in and did his job well.”
The Bull Dogs wasted little time jumping on the board in the opener, scoring four times in the first on two-run singles by Collin Lollar and Nolan Wetherald. Wetherald added sacrifice flies in the third and fifth innings to finish with four RBIs in his varsity debut.
In the second game, Korry Drum smacked a two-run single in North’s three-run first, and Canaan Baum clubbed a two-out, two-run homer to right-center to cap a five-run second. The Bull Dogs added a run in the third and ended it with three in the fifth, capped by a two-run triple by Collin Lollar.
“It was finally nice to play somebody else today,” McDaniel said. “The guys were excited. They definitely have prepared will this offseason, and I think the result of that showed today. We still have some things we need to work on, some things we need to clean up, but it’s early in the season.”
North committed only one error defensively in the two games.
“We’re going to be a good defensive team this year, and we have to be,” McDaniel said. “We lost a little bit of offensive production from last year, so I think pitching and defense is going to be a staple for us. We still have to do a better job with timely hitting.”
Tyler Finke went 3 for 4 with two RBIs, and Cooper Trinkle and Wade Rankin each went 2 for 2 in the second game. Collin Lollar, Baum and Drum all had two RBIs in the second game.
Collin Lollar went 2 for 4 in the first game and finished with three hits and four RBIs for the day.
“We’ve been working on hitting a lot the last few weeks in practice,” he said. “I think we were ready. We’ve been working for this since about October, so it’s good to finally get out and play someone else, and it’s good to get two Ws the first day.”