No style points, but a win nonetheless

INDIANAPOLIS — The Columbus North baseball team missed its fair share of opportunities in Tuesday evening’s Conference Indiana opener at Perry Meridian.

Fortunately for the Bull Dogs, there were enough chances left to cash in on.

A four-run outburst in the fourth inning was enough to offset 12 men left on base, and North held on for a 5-3 road victory.

“We’ve still got to do a better job of timely hitting,” North coach Ben McDaniel said. “We’re doing a lot of small ball right now, and it’s paying off for us, but when we do put the bat on the ball, they’re not line drives. They’re pop flies, and that’s something that we’ve got to continue to work on.”

Perry Meridian also left 10 men on base, as neither team recorded a single 1-2-3 inning.

The Bull Dogs loaded the bases with one out in the top of the third but came up empty, and they quickly came to regret the missed opportunity. In the bottom of the inning, the Falcons scored without the benefit of a hit, cobbling together a walk, a hit batsman, a sacrifice and a passed ball to grab a 1-0 advantage.

North wasn’t behind for long.

Logan Jones led off the fourth inning with a walk and moved to second when Wade Rankin reached on an error. Korry Drum was then hit by a pitch to load the bases.

After a fielder’s choice erased Jones at the plate, a throwing error on a Tyler Finke grounder produced a pair of runs — and a second Falcon miscue on the play, which came after Nolan Wetherland got caught in a rundown between third and home, plated a third. Finke, who reached second during the ruckus, stole third and came in on an infield hit by Cooper Trinkle to make it 4-1.

The Bull Dogs left the bases loaded without scoring again in the fifth, and again Perry Meridian made them pay. A two-run single by Joe Genier got the Falcons within a run, but reliever Korry Drum came on to get North out of a jam with the tying and go-ahead runs on base.

Brice McDaniel gave the visitors a little cushion in the sixth when he doubled to the wall to score Cooper Trinkle, who pitched the seventh to close it out for North.

Though it wasn’t the prettiest of performances, Ben McDaniel was happy to open a busy week in triumphant fashion.

“We’ve got a big week this week,” he said. “We’ve got a sectional opponent (Shelbyville) on Thursday, and we face two of the top 10 teams in the state on Saturday. So we’re really looking forward to this week.”

Starting pitcher Parker Maddox worked 4 1/3 innings to earn the win for the Bull Dogs, striking out five while yielding five hits and four walks and hitting two batters.

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Ryan O'Leary is sports editor for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at roleary@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2715.