Panther error boosts North to win

A majority of the time, whenever a team outhits its opponent 12-1, they’d usually come out with a victory.

Wednesday night proved to be an exception when Class 4A No. 10 Columbus North hosted Bloomington South at Southside Elementary.

The Bull Dogs were outhit by the Panthers 12 -1, but North took advantage of a costly error by Bloomington South to come away with a 3-2 Conference Indiana victory on senior night.

Luke Harmon earned the win for the Bull Dogs on the mound, going 5 2/3 innings and allowing two runs while striking out four.

“They hit the ball pretty well. They found the gaps, but our defense made big plays when they were necessary,” Harmon said. “We hit some balls hard, but we couldn’t find the hole.”

North coach Pat Antone was pleased with Harmon’s pitching and the defensive performance.

“That’s the best outing that I think he’s had all year. He competed in tough spots, he got ahead in counts, he got leadoff outs and the defense did a really good job,” Antone said. “They made routine plays. We turned two double plays. It was really nice to see two well-executed double plays for us defensively.”

In the bottom of the second inning, the Bull Dogs (15-3-2, 3-0) got on the scoreboard when Harmon hit a two-out single. Trent Bodart and Ethan Staples walked to load the bases. Dillon James grounded third, but the throw to first was well off the mark and went deep to the fence, allowing the bases to clear to give North a 3-0 lead.

“Dillon James put the ball in play. In high school baseball, you put the ball in play, you put pressure on them, especially when you’ve got speed,” Antone said. “You can put yourself into some good situations.”

The Panthers didn’t respond until the top of the sixth when Blaise Oeding singled up the middle, and a single from Logan Clendening put runners on first and second. Logan Wright and and AJ Brinson hit RBI-singles to cut the lead to 3-2.

Zach Wager came on to record the final out of the sixth and retired Bloomington South in order in the top of the seventh to secure the win for North.

Antone appreciated his seniors.

“They’ve been huge for us. They’ve really come a long way, not only in terms of baseball skill development-wise, they set the tone, setting the standard and expectations. They’re getting better and growing as leaders. That’s exactly what we need from them,” Antone said. “I can’t say enough how important they’ve been to our team and the success we’ve had.”