FRANKLIN — Franklin and Edinburgh combined for 21 strikeouts in a baseball game that, not surprisingly, needed an extra inning to determine a winner.
Nathaniel Whetstine lined a two-out single to center field in the top of the eighth frame to drive home Alec MacLennan as the Grizzly Cubs escaped with a 2-1 victory in the semifinals of the Johnson County Tournament.
Franklin’s opponent will be determined later this month once Greenwood and Indian Creek conclude play April 23 to see who faces Center Grove in the other side of the bracket. One of those teams will play the Grizzly Cubs — eventually — in the championship game.
Starter Branson Pugh and reliever Luke Miles combined to strike out 13 Lancers.
“Honestly, (Edinburgh) is going to win a lot of ballgames. Our guys knew that they were going to be in for it tonight,” Franklin coach Ryan Feyerabend said. “Two pretty good arms throwing but, fortunately, we got enough guys on base and hit a few well-struck balls to get past them.”
Edinburgh’s Zach Murphy pitched six solid innings, yielding two hits and striking out seven. Miles picked up the win for the Cubs, with the Lancers’ Zack Giles taking the loss.
Franklin (3-2) led 1-0 through four innings, but Edinburgh (0-3) broke through with a run of its own in the bottom of the fifth.
Coltan Henderson got it started with a leadoff single to center, and senior Gabe Wilson’s first-pitch bloop single put runners on first and second. Tavian Cosby’s groundout moved runners into scoring position. A sacrifice fly by Bryce Burton scored Henderson and tied the game.
In the eighth, MacLennan, Franklin’s No. 3 hitter, drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a bunt by Blake Dicken. Jared Ross then popped out before Whetstine delivered what would be the game-winner.
Henderson and Wilson both were credited with a pair of singles for the Lancers.
Edinburgh coach Jason Burton was proud of the poise his squad demonstrated after losing both ends of a home-and-home to Hauser last week by lopsided margins.
“Honestly, I’m just proud of the total effort. It was a team effort. We had guys playing situational baseball,” Burton said. “We had guys laying bunts down at times, and we were hitting our cutoffs on fielding plays. We had one error, but I think we bounced back from that. I’m just pleased overall with their approach at the plate and just their mental mindset in the game.”