Earlier on Tuesday, Columbus North baseball coach Ben McDaniel spoke to his athletics director, Jeff Hester, about whether the Bull Dogs’ game against Franklin should be played.
It was snowing outside at the time.
“We had an opportunity to cancel that game,” McDaniel said after his squad posted a 13-7 victory against the Grizzly Cubs in temperatures more suited for ice fishing at the Bull Dogs field on the Southside Elementary campus. “I wanted to play. I took the approach that I want our guys to face as much adversity as we can early.
“I wanted to see how we would respond.”
The Bull Dogs, 5-0-1, responded well.
Although the game was understandably sloppy at times — both teams committed four errors — North forged a lead and then answered back every time the Grizzly Cubs attempted to rally.
The Bull Dogs, who have now scored 70 runs in six games, were up 5-1 after three innings. Franklin scored two runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Each time, North put more runs on the board in the bottom of the inning.
“We talk a lot about momentum and answering back,” McDaniel said. “If we give up three or four runs in an inning, we want to get at least one back.”
North will continue to get runs back if sophomore Canaan Baum continues to crush the ball.
Baum went 3 for 5 with a two-run single in the second, a towering solo homer over the right field fence in the fourth and a run-scoring triple in the fifth. Franklin messed up the relay from the right-center-field fence, allowing Baum to score on his triple.
“Your body is stiff and the ball doesn’t come off your bat well,” said Baum, who admitted he was surprised he could hit the ball so far on such a cold day. “And your body is going to react slower.”
McDaniel said Baum has been reacting quite nicely to everything thrown his way.
“He continues to stay hot,” McDaniel said. “It won’t be long before the word gets out about him.”
The two words for North sophomore right fielder Hunter Liggett on Tuesday were “happy birthday.” Liggett helped fuel the North offense with a single, two walks and two runs scored.
With a birthday in April, Liggett said he has been as cold before.
“When I turned 13, we played a tournament in Greensburg that was this cold,” he said. “I was playing for a travel team, the Blazers. The last seven or eight years I have had a baseball game on my birthday.”
On Tuesday, Liggett said the only extra clothing he wore was a pair of leggings meant to protect the players when they slide.
“It was only cold when we weren’t running,” he said. “And some of our players had hand warmers. If you were in the field, after every pitch you took time to blow on your hands.”
Pitching-wise, North’s Collin Lollar, who got the win, simply survived a tough day, going six innings. Christian Glass pitched a scoreless seventh for the Bull Dogs.
Franklin scored a run in the first on a double by Jacob Baldridge and a single by Ross Barr. North answered with three runs in the second on an RBI ground out by Lollar and the two-run single by Baum.
North picked up RBI singles from Cody Burton and Cooper Trinkle in the third for a 5-1 lead.
Franklin answered back with two in the fourth on an RBI single by Dylan Drybread and another run that scored on a North error.
Baum homered in the fourth and Franklin came back with a pair of runs in the fifth by parlaying two singles and a North error into a rally.
RBI triples by Devin Mann and Baum in the fifth keyed the Bull Dogs’ three-run outburst.
Franklin, 2-1, wouldn’t go away, though, cutting the North lead to 9-7 in the sixth on RBI singles by Baldridge and Barr.
North put it away in the bottom of the inning as two singles, two Franklin errors and a walk led to four runs.