The Cathedral team that Columbus North will face in Saturday’s baseball semistate is undefeated this season, but the Irish were trailing in one of their games when it ended early.

That game was April 28 against those same Bull Dogs. North led 3-0 and had a runner on third with one out in the bottom of the second when lightning appeared and forced a delay in the game. It later resumed, but with no lights at the Southside Elementary field, the game eventually was called and no make-up date was scheduled to continue it.

“We were definitely playing well,” North coach Ben McDaniel said. “That was one of the games that we got up for, and we were playing with a lot of energy. That’s how we’re playing every game now, so hopefully, we’ll bring our best on Saturday.”

The two teams intended to finish the game on May 11, but that was called because of rain. Now, the Bull Dogs (17-12) and Class 4A No. 2 Irish (27-0) will meet at around 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Plainfield for a berth in the state title game.

While North earned its first semistate berth since 1990 by winning Saturday’s Evansville Regional, Cathedral didn’t punch its ticket until Monday night. The Irish’s Decatur Central Regional championship game with Roncalli was postponed Saturday after a set of sprinklers went off and couldn’t be stopped until the field was too wet.

Cathedral beat Roncalli 5-2.

“They’re undefeated for a reason,” McDaniel said. “They have a lot of athletes. They’re definitely a good pitching team.”

The Bull Dogs likely will see senior left-hander Nick Eaton. The Indiana University recruit is 9-0 with a 1.00 ERA this season following Saturday’s 1-0 regional semifinal win against Greenfield-Central.

Eaton pitched against North last year in a game that was called after Bull Dogs Tyler Finke and Canaan Baum were injured in a collision.

“We’ve seen a lot of lefties this year, so it’s not a new look for us,” McDaniel said. “Hopefully, we’re prepared for that. We have a coach that can prepare us for that live this week, so I’m sure we’ll take advantage of that.”

McDaniel is leaning toward starting sophomore Parker Maddox. Maddox, who pitched the two innings in this year’s abbreviated game against the Irish, threw a six-hitter with 10 strikeouts and two walks in Saturday’s 7-1 semistate final win against Evansville Central.

Maddox, who is 3-3 with a 3.33 ERA, consistently was in the 88 to 89 MPH range while topping out at 91 MPH in that game.

“Maddox probably looked the best that he’s looked all year. He’s played well in some games. He just hasn’t gone very deep. Against Evansville, not only did he look good, but he went the full seven innings.”

Cathedral’s top hitter is junior Jared Poland. The Louisville recruit leads the Irish with a .433 average, five home runs and 27 RBIs.

“We definitely can not let him beat us,” McDaniel said.

Senior second baseman Cooper Trinkle leads the Bull Dogs with a .455 average, two home runs and 29 RBIs. Junior shortstop Tyler Finke is hitting .400 with 33 runs scored and a school-record 37 stolen bases.

McDaniel isn’t surprised his team is facing Cathedral at this stage of the tournament.

“If we make a run like that, there’s always a chance you’re going to see Cathedral,” McDaniel said. “They’re an old team. They have a lot of seniors and juniors.”

If you go

What: Baseball semistate

Who: Columbus North (17-12) vs. Cathedral (27-0)

When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Plainfield High School

Admission: $8

Advancement: Winner will play for the Class 4A state championship June 16 or 17 at Victory Field in Indianapolis.

Author photo
Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.