BLOOMINGTON — A season filled with adversity came to a frustrating end for the Columbus North baseball team Friday night.
Nick Wright went 4 for 4 with a home run and two doubles, and Alex Franklin threw a four-hitter to lead Bloomington South to a 10-1 win against the Bull Dogs in the semifinals of the sectional at Bloomington North.
“I’m not sure that some guys could go through a whole four years of high school and not face as much adversity as we faced this year,” North coach Ben McDaniel said.
The Bull Dogs (17-11) battled injuries to several key players. The most serious came when sophomore shortstop Tyler Finke and senior center fielder Canaan Baum collided in a game at Cathedral.
Baum returned to action the following week, and Finke, who had orbital fractures, came back for Wednesday’s 12-1 opening-round win against Shelbyville.
Friday, Baum had two of North’s four hits.
“I’m proud of all these guys, and I’m especially proud of our seniors,” McDaniel said. “It’s a special senior class, not just because my son (Brice) is in it. I moved here eight years ago, and I’ve coached all these guys since I got here. These seniors led our guys through adversity this year.”
The Panthers (19-9) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, Four of the first five batters recorded hits against North starter Jake Petrusky.
The Bull Dogs got one of the runs back in the second. Wade Rankin drew a one-out walk, went to second on a wild pitch and took third when Ben Thompson laid down a sacrifice bunt and reached first safely.
Rankin then scored on a passed ball. Nolan Wetherald then walked, and Korry Drum sacrificed Thompson and Wetherald to third and second. Tyler Finke then lined a shot that appeared headed for right field, but Wright made a leaping catch at first to preserve the Bloomington South lead.
“The first baseman makes a great play,” McDaniel said. “I think we definitely would have been up 3-2 there. It was just one of those nights, unfortunately.”
The Panthers made it 5-1 in the third on back-to-back home runs, a two-run shot by Wright and a solo blast by Tyler VanPelt.
Bloomington South added a run in the fourth, three more in the fifth and another in the sixth. Parker Maddox relieved Petrusky with one on and two out in the fourth. Logan Jones came on with a runner on and nobody out in the sixth. Cooper Trinkle and Collin Lollar had the other hits for North.
“There’s nights where things just don’t go your way, and we definitely had that tonight,” McDaniel said. “The law of attraction was in play. We attracted errors, and I’m not putting anything on the umpires, but we attracted bad calls. We hit the ball well, but we hit it right at them. There’s nothing we could do.”