Columbus North had been in the exact same position just four days earlier, so it didn’t panic when Terre Haute North scored five runs in the top of the first inning.
This time, the Bull Dogs made the comeback. They rallied for a 7-6 win in the second game of the baseball doubleheader to complete the sweep of their Conference Indiana rivals.
“We were in this spot Tuesday against Perry Meridian, and we didn’t come through,” senior Cooper Trinkle said. “It’s something we’ve been talking about, fighting through that adversity, and we had confidence in our guys. We had scored 12 runs the game before, so to us, five runs is nothing. We knew we could come back and win.”
The Bull Dogs managed only three runs in the 5-3 loss against Perry Meridian. But in Saturday’s second game, they scored twice in the second and twice in the fifth to get to within 5-4.
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The Patriots scored in the sixth to make it 6-4, but the Bull Dogs answered in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI-double by freshman Casper Clark, who had entered the game on the mound in relief of Jakob Meyer in the top of the inning.
Tyler Finke led off the seventh with an infield single. After Wade Rankin was hit by a pitch, Trinkle chopped one over the third baseman’s head to score Finke with the tying run.
“I think they thought I was going to bunt,” Trinkle said. “Anything I got to the outfield, Tyler is extremely fast, so I knew it would score him. I was just trying to get a good pitch and put a good swing on the ball, and I got kind of lucky and got a ball into the outfield.”
Logan Jones then came to the plate in a sacrifice situation and bunted a ball back to pitcher Blade Pittman. After looking at third and second, Pittman turned and fired one three feet over the head of the first baseman, and Rankin trotted home with the winning run.
That set off a celebration at home plate for the winning Bull Dogs (8-4).
“Bottom of the seventh inning with our 2-hole and 3-hole coming up, I thought we had a pretty good shot,” North coach Ben McDaniel said. “All those guys have had good approaches all year. They’ve been great on the basepaths. It was just a matter of time.”
Rankin finished 2 for 3 with a double, Trinkle went 2 for 3 and Finke went 2 for 4. Clark picked up the pitching victory.
“It was real nice, especially after Tuesday,” McDaniel said. “I think we learned from some adversity. We had been in that situation before this year, and the guys were able to respond. They just kept playing and made things happen.”
In the opener, the Bull Dogs scored three times in each of the first two innings and went on to win 12-2 in six innings.
Parker Maddox threw a six-hitter in picking up the win. Trinkle went 2 for 2 with two doubles and two RBIs, Rankin went 2 for 3 with a home run and two RBIs, Finke went 2 for 4 and Clark smacked a three-run walkoff homer in the sixth.
“I was just trying to do what I could to help the team,” said Rankin, who was celebrating his 18th birthday. “Our pitchers pitched awesome today. They did everything that they could, and I just wanted to come out and win.”