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Bull Dogs smack 1st homer at new field, easily stymie Panthers in doubleheader

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With Columbus North’s offense pouring runs across the plate Saturday, only one thing was left to be accomplished.

Who was going to be the first Bull Dog hitter to crush a home run at the team’s new field on the Southside Elementary campus?

In the sixth inning of the second game of North’s 6-3, 20-2 doubleheader sweep against Jennings County, everyone had the answer.

North junior catcher Evan Finke hit a two-run rocket off Jennings County reliever Ethan Jarvis that cleared the left center field fence.

“That was one of the hardest hit balls I’ve seen this year, even in practice,” North coach Ben McDaniel said.

“It takes a shot to get it out of here.”

Finke said the Bull Dogs have been hitting the ball over the fence in practice, so it was only a matter of time.

“In practice, we see who can hit the farthest one,” he said. “But to be the first (North player) to hit one on this field is exciting.”

North hit many other screaming shots during the course of the day, but those mostly were line drives.

“We know that our offense is what is going to carry us,” Finke said. “And on a day like this, your confidence definitely goes up. You just relax.”

North sophomore Canaan Baum definitely was relaxed at the plate. His two-run triple in the bottom of the third in the opener broke open a scoreless contest. The Bull Dogs added a run for a 3-0 advantage on Finke’s RBI single to left.

Jennings County battled back in the top of the sixth with three runs to tie the game. Sam Miller ripped an RBI double off North winning pitcher Cody Burton and three batters later Tod Brown launched a two-run double.

However, North answered with three more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Collin Lollar had an RBI single, and Devin Mann followed with a two-run single as North opened a 6-3 lead.

Burton retired the side in order in the seventh as North notched the win.

Jennings County, which is 0-3, couldn’t find an effective hurler in the second game of the doubleheader. North scored four runs in the first inning, three in the second, and seven in the third for a 17-1 lead.

“Everybody played well together,” Baum said. “Everybody was having fun with it.”

Baum was having as much fun as anyone. Besides his two-run triple in the opener, he added a two-run double and a two-run single during North’s 10-run third inning of the second game.

“After our game on Thursday (a 9-9 tie against Fishers), we challenged our guys to finish the week with three wins,” McDaniel said. “We came out and battled last night (an 11-5 win at East Central) and did that again today.

“We are at 46 runs for four games, and we’ve been aggressive on the bases.”

North base runners had six steals on the day but also took advantage of a bevy of wild pitches, passed balls and balks by Jennings County.

Besides all the offense, North got complete game pitching performances from Burton in the first game and Jon Cox in the second. The second game ended after the top of the fifth due to the 10-run rule.

“Pitching is not our strength, so we have to capitalize where we can on offense,” McDaniel said. “We challenged our guys to not make an error today, and we made just one in the two games, so that’s pretty good.

“I also was very pleased with Cody and Jon. Cody was very efficient in that first game, and he kept his pitch count down. Jon got us through the second game.”

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