PLAINFIELD — Columbus North put runners on base in every inning Saturday afternoon and had hits in six of the seven.
Unfortunately for the Bull Dogs, they couldn’t push any runs across against Cathedral ace Nick Eaton. The Indiana University recruit threw a shutout to lead the Class 4A No. 2 Irish to a 6-0 win in the semistate at Plainfield.
“You have to give a lot of credit to their pitcher,” North senior Cooper Trinkle said. “I’ve played summer ball with him the last four years, and that’s just what he does. He’s crafty, and it’s just tough to put runs together on him. When he puts runners on base, he mixes his looks, mixes his pitches up. He’s just a tough guy to score on.”
Trinkle had two of the hits for the Bull Dogs (17-13), going 2 for 3. The first came with two out in the first, but he was left stranded.
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Cathedral (28-0) then scored all the runs it would need in the bottom of the first. Parker Maddox hit the first two batters before Jared Poland flied to deep center. Kevin Flood then smacked a triple off the center field fence and came in to score when the throw to third went into the Irish dugout to make it 3-0.
“That’s not the way we wanted to start,” North coach Ben McDaniel said. “We wanted to score first. It didn’t matter when it was. When you put the first two guys on base with arguably the best hitter in the state, especially in the junior class, with no outs and nowhere to put him, it’s kind of tough spot, not the way we had envisioned.”
Maddox pitched out of a second-and-third, one-out jam in the second, but then gave up a run on two hits and two wild pitches in the third. He got out of another jam in the fourth.
The Bull Dogs’ best scoring opportunity came in the fifth. Grant Trinkle drew a two-out walk and went to third on a single by Tyler Finke. Wade Rankin then hit a ball that looked headed for the left-center field gap, but Irish center fielder Mack Murphy raced over to make the catch.
“We were hoping that ball would get down and get momentum back on our side,” McDaniel said. “We could never find anything to get momentum going our way, and that would have done it for us. It was just a rough day.”
Cathedral then added another run off Maddox in the fifth and one off Logan Jones in the sixth to make it 6-0. Tommy Kafka relieved Eaton in the seventh and finished the shutout for the Irish.
Eaton allowed five hits and struck out six in six innings.
“Nick Eaton on the mound is our guy, and he has been all year,” Cathedral coach Ed Frieje said. “When we got Nick going, we know that each inning, he’s going to battle and compete and be around the (strike) zone and keep hitters off balance and really go after guys and control the tempo and control the game.”
Besides Cooper Trinkle’s two hits, the Bull Dogs had one hit apiece from Rankin, Kevin Thompson, Finke and Jeremias Dela Cruz. Dela Cruz’ single was a pinch-hit effort leading off the seventh.
“We just couldn’t string anything together,” McDaniel said. “We got guys on base and got them in scoring position and weren’t able to put anything together to get them across. We came up against a good pitcher, and weren’t able to do enough.”