In a game that was dominated by pitching, it was — quite ironically — three pitches that ultimately determined the outcome of a quick-moving pitchers’ duel Thursday night at Columbus North.
The Bull Dogs were able to scratch out a 2-1 Conference Indiana victory against visiting Bloomington North with the help of two wild pitches and a passed ball.
After Bloomington North had been stymied for the first four innings by Columbus North hurler Jakob Meyer, the Cougars managed to touch him up for a run in the fifth to take a 1-0 lead. A leadoff single by the Cougars’ Colton Bex started the inning. He scored on an RBI double to left-center field by Ian Wilson.
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However, Wilson was erased trying to go to third on a bloop single to right by Sam Weger. Right fielder, Parker Maddox charged in, gathered the ball and threw a bullet to third to catch Wilson trying to advance. Meyer then struck out Riley Gallagher to end the inning.
Bloomington North pitcher Dylan Steele was just as dominant. Steele cruised through the first five innings unscathed by the Bull Dogs, striking out six and allowing only two hits. However, he found himself in trouble in the sixth.
After a fly out to begin the inning, Reese Harmon belted a single just past the shortstop. A walk to Tyler Finke put runners on first and second with one out. Steele then momentarily lost his control, with two of his next three pitches finding the backstop.
The first wild pitch allowed the runners to move to second and third, while the second one allowed Harmon to score to tie the game at 1-1 and move Finke to third. A third-strike swing and miss by Grant Trinkle bounced off the mitt of the Cougars’ catcher and also went to the backstop, allowing Finke to score the go-ahead run.
The two runs were all Meyer needed. He finished off the Cougars in the seventh to finish with a complete game. He struck out eight and allowed only the one run to get the victory.
Columbus North coach Ben McDaniel has watched the improvement in Meyer over the past year.
“Jakob has made great strides in the last 365 days. He has worked his tail off,” McDaniel said. “After hitting a batter on the first pitch of the game, he set the tone for the rest of it. I’m not sure Jakob could have done that last year.”
Meyer also collected one of only three hits for the Bull Dogs. Harmon singled, and Adam Chapman doubled to round out the offense.