Defense was on full display Monday evening at Clifty Park, where Columbus North combined dominating pitching with stellar fielding to post a 2-0 blanking of Shelbyville.
Christian Glass surrendered just four hits and two walks while going the distance for the Bull Dogs, who improved to 7-4 with the victory.
The junior hurler silenced the Golden Bears by racking up nine strikeouts, including six during the final three innings.
“When Christian is on and focused, he is very good,” North coach Brian Muckerheide said. “Our defense overall was outstanding.”
Offensively, the Bull Dogs fared only a bit better than their guests, registering just six singles, but employed aggressive base-running skills to create more scoring possibilities. That philosophy especially paid off early and proved to be the difference in the contest.
With one out in the opening inning, North freshman Canaan Baum ripped a single and then moved to second after Devin Mann followed with a base hit. The pair then pulled off a double steal, and Baum bolted home after Shelbyville’s catcher misfired on his throw to third.
Mann then came home moments later on a Cody Burton ground out.
“We were able to take advantage of that situation,” Muckerheide said. “Our aggressive play paid off for us.”
Baum had two of his team’s six hits, as did Mann, who also keyed the defense with flawless play from the shortstop position.
The strong-armed sophomore was perfect on all five defensive chances, including teaming with senior Coledon Hoeltke and freshman Brice McDaniel to turn a second-inning double play.
“That was a big play for us and got us going,” Mann said. “We’ve been playing really good defense lately, and we need to keep it going as the season goes on.”
Shelbyville tallied two of its four hits in the third frame, but the Bears’ biggest scoring threat came in the fifth inning after drawing consecutive base-on-balls to open the action.
Unfortunately for the visitors, Glass refocused and closed the door, registering back-to-back strikeouts and then inducing the Bears’ leadoff batter to ground out to Mann.
“This was a nice win against a sectional team that we could see again,” Muckerheide said. “But we’ve also got some big games ahead of us.”
North is back in action today at Conference Indiana foe Lawrence Central and will then host Pike in another league showdown Wednesday at home. The Bull Dogs are currently 1-1 in conference play.