Although Columbus North squandered several chances to score runs against East Central on Wednesday night, strong starting pitching by a senior veteran and solid relief pitching by two freshmen making their high school pitching debuts carried the Bull Dogs to a 7-3 victory on a cold, windy night.
Jake Petrusky started for the Bull Dogs, throwing three strong innings, allowing only one hit and striking out three. North coach Ben McDaniel planned to limit Petrusky before the game began.
“Jake was on a short count tonight because he will be throwing this weekend (at the Super Prep Tournament),” McDaniel said. “But he did tonight what he has been doing for us for four years. He threw strikes, missed the big part of the bat and let his defense work.”
Following Petrusky, freshman Kyler McIntosh came to the hill for the first time in a Bull Dog uniform. After a perfect fourth inning with two strikeouts, McIntosh found a bit of trouble in the fifth.
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A walk to the Trojans’ Jack Hutchins to lead off the inning was followed by a Simon Williams single. East Central’s next batter, Isaiah Wheat laid down a sacrifice bunt, but McIntosh threw high to first, allowing Hutchins to score East Central’s first run. A sacrifice fly to right followed from Gunner Seig to score Williams with the second run of the game. The Trojans’ final run of the inning, and the game, came on a base hit from Eli Kramer, scoring Wheat, who had moved to third on a passed ball. All three runs were unearned.
North freshman Reese Harmon, also making his Bull Dog debut, came in to finish the game off by pitching the final two innings, striking out one and allowing one hit.
Offensively, North (2-1) was on base all night long. Adam Chapman began the second inning by legging out an infield hit. With one out, Devon Rodgers was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. Blake Huffman drew a walk to load the bases with two out, and another walk to Tyler Finke got the Bull Dogs on the board with their first run of the game.
North was at it again in the third, when Austin Bode doubled to lead off the inning. A walk to Parker Maddox put runners on first and second with no outs. With one out, Casper Clark drew a walk to load the bases for the second straight inning. This time, the Bull Dogs took advantage, when Rodgers doubled and scored Bode and Maddox for a 3-0 lead. A Blake Huffman hit-by-pitch loaded the bases for the second time in the inning, but the North was able to score only one more run on a fielder’s choice by Finke.
The Bull Dogs added another run in the fourth. Bode hit his second double of the game to lead off the inning and eventually came around to score on a Chapman sacrifice fly to give them a 5-0 lead after four innings.
After East Central cut the lead to 5-3 in the top of the fifth, North answered back in the sixth. Following a walk and stolen base by Trinkle, the Trojans wanted no part of Bode, giving him a free pass to first. Following a hit by pitch to Chapman, which loaded the bases for the fourth time in the game, Clark hit a rocket to left, scoring Bode and Trinkle for the final runs of the game.
McDaniel thought his team didn’t take full advantage of the opportunities it was given.
“My count is that we left ten guys on base and left the bases loaded three times. We are popping up too much and not hitting down on the ball. We need focus on hitting the ball down and hitting line drives.”
Bode led the offensive charge with a single, two doubles, and a walk and also scored three runs. Finke, Rodgers and Clark all had two RBIs, accounting for six of the Bull Dogs seven runs.