LINDEN – The North Montgomery and Danville baseball teams
faced off in a big conference match up Tuesday to see who would stay undefeated
in the conference.
Two crucial defensive innings got North out of some sticky
situations and propelled them to their third conference win, 8-1.
“That’s close to what we’re capable of doing,” Charger coach
Matt Merica said. “If we come out and play like that, there are not too many
teams who can beat us. All facets of the game I was impressed with.”
Backed by some strong defense, pitcher Mitch Merica gave up
7 hits in the first four innings but got out of two threatening Warrior
innings, one with the help of his defense, the second on his own.
The third inning saw Warrior Reece Jensen walk and Ethan
Shafer hit a hard grounder through the 5-6 hole. Two on and one out. Clean-up
hitter Jackson Wynn drove one to third but Charger Riley Morehouse shut them
down with a double play to end the inning.
The fourth inning was a different story after the Warriors
strung together three singles to load the bases. Again, runners in scoring
position and one out. But Merica produce two ‘K’s from the ninth and first
Warrior batters to extract the Chargers from another inning.
“Mitch battled through a rough couple of first innings, kept
us in the game and became a different pitcher in the last half of the game,”
Coach Merica said. “He had command of his curve ball, got ahead and got out of
some big jams.”
The two snuffed rallies halted the Warrior offensive drive
and they only put on three more baserunners in the rest of the game.
The North Montgomery offense didn’t stop, on the other hand.
One hit here and one run there, kept North’s undefeated conference dream alive
as the Chargers posted 12 hits on 2 Warrior errors. Justin Clary led the team
with a 3-for-4 night at the plate with 1 RBI and 2 runs.
It was the little things that fueled the North offense.
Clary kicked things off with a deep double. Adams moved him over. And Jordan
Lewis hit him in. This fire kept burning in the second when Merica followed
suit with another double. Vince Gwynn sacrifice bunted and Bryce Frederick
RBI-ed with the sac fly.
“We did the little things to get us runs,” Merica commented.
“We had three sacrifice bunts and each got us a run. We played the game the way
it is supposed to be played.”
Clary and Baylee Adams started the third with a single and
double, respectively. Lewis’ sac bunt sealed the inning at two more runs. A
fifth-inning run from Devon Zachary and sixth-inning 3-run blast, sealed the
deal for North.
“You can’t let the final score sway you,” Merica said. “That
game was closer than 8-1. We got out of every big situation. We made the plays,
put the ball in play and played well.”
North (6-2, 3-0 SAC) are now at the top of the conference
alongside Crawfordsville. They head to Danville (4-4, 2-1 SAC) to complete the
“Thursday’s game is just as important as this one,” Merica
concluded. “They are right there with us as far as having aspirations to win
the conference. We have to go over there and be ready to play.”