FRANKLIN — Columbus North used quite a combination to start out its season Saturday at Franklin in the baseball season opener for both teams.
Good pitching, hitting and some clever base running gave the Bull Dogs a sweep against the Cubs, 9-6 and 7-1.
Big innings also helped.
North used two big ones in Game 1 and one big one in Game 2. Those innings were needed to put the games out of reach.
All told, the Bull Dogs collected 22 total hits and spread it out evenly, getting 11 for each game. Supplying the big bat was sophomore Parker Maddox, who had two triples, including a bases-loaded one in the fifth inning that broke open a tight contest in Game 1. Maddox had four hits overall and five RBIs from the No. 8 spot.
But don’t expect North coach Ben McDaniel to move Maddox.
“I like (Maddox) him there,” said McDaniel. “Parker sees a lot of different pitches and gets some good swings from that spot.”
Everybody got some good swings in for the Bull Dogs. Franklin had some good ones too, but only in Game 1.
In Game 2, North pitcher Jacob Meyer, also a sophomore, pitched a one-hitter and struck out nine. Except for a bloop single to right field in the sixth inning by Cub second baseman Stone Peddycord, Meyer would have had a no-hitter.
“He pitched great, and we were happy with his game,” McDaniel said. “Jacob has worked hard in the offseason, and it paid off today.”
Meyer gave up an unearned run in the first inning, but after that, he thwarted the good-hitting Cubs the rest of the way, especially after North tied the game in the third inning and scored three runs — courtesy of Maddox’s triple in the fourth.
Cooper Trinkle had three singles and two runs in that game, while Tyler Finke and Korry Drum each had a single and double for the Bull Dogs. Drum also had three RBIs.
In the opener, North scored three runs in the first, but lost the lead to Franklin before tying the game and then scoring four times in the fifth inning. Finke had three singles in the opener, while Trinkle had two singles and two runs.
Of North’s 11 hits in Game 1, four were infield hits. The Bull Dogs added eight stolen bases and also used with success a daring suicide squeeze play with the bases loaded. Nolan Wetherald executed a perfect bunt that saw Trinkle steam home from third and everyone else get to the next base safely.
Opponents can expect more of that from the Bull Dogs, according to McDaniel.
“We play a lot of small ball, and we like to create chaos on the bases,” said McDaniel. “We don’t have a lot of big bats, but we did get a great start to the season.”
North had only three stolen bases in the second game, but didn’t need to utilize the base paths as much.
Franklin had 11 hits in the first game.
“That’s a good baseball team,” said Franklin coach Ryan Feyerbend, while pointing to the North bench. “We did some good things today, but we need to clean some things up.”