GREENWOOD — Columbus North found its stride early on in the contest, scoring six runs in the first three innings en route to a 7-4 win at Greenwood on Thursday night.
“I wanted the guys to get out aggressive and jump out ahead as early as possible,” North baseball coach Ben McDaniel said. “We did a good job of getting runs in when we needed to.”
The Bull Dogs (13-3-1) managed two runs in the first as senior Will Dorenbusch connected on a two-run double, scoring Canaan Baum and Cody Burton. Greenwood (3-12), however, would answer right back with a Tanner Skeel RBI single in the bottom of the inning.
North starting pitcher Jon Cox pitched seven innings giving up six hits and four walks and recorded eight strikeouts to earn the win.
Cox ran into some trouble in the second. Woodmen starting pitcher Jordan Kelly hit an RBI-double to make it 3-2. With runners on second and third, Cox would walk the next batter the load the bases with nobody out.
Cox forced the next batter, Jackson Daugherty, to hit into a double play preventing a run from scoring. Cox would strike out the next batter to get the third out of the inning.
Greenwood coach Andy Bass said it was a missed opportunity to have a big inning.
“Our effort was much better tonight than earlier in the season,” Bass said. “We just need to do a better job at converting and driving in runs when the opportunity presents itself.”
McDaniel believes it was the height of the mound that was the cause of Cox’s struggles early in the game.
“It was a higher mound than what he was used to, so it hard at first to get his footing going downhill,” McDaniel said. “We had to shorten his stride a little bit, and he was able to adjust well and got out the inning for us.”
“It was rough for me pitching early in the game,” Cox said. “I just staring switching grips on my curveball, which worked out better for me. It was also great to have my teammates encourage me and keeping me focused which helped me get of the jam in the second.”
The Bull Dogs would have another big inning in the third when Cooper Trinkle doubled to score Hunter Liggett. Evan Finke then stepped up to plate and blasted a two-run homer in deep center field to give North a 6-2 lead.
“It felt great getting dome hits tonight,” said Finke, who also had a double. “I was not hitting well the last couple of games so I just told myself, ‘I had to get going this game to prove to myself and the coaches that I have it’ and that worked out well for me.”
The Woodmen would not go away as they stormed back with two run fourth, highlighted by a Daugherty two-run double to make it 6-4. The Bull Dogs would get an insurance run in the sixth when Finke knocked one off the top of the fence in cente. Morgan Murdock, who ran for Finke, would score off Devin Mann’s single.