The Paper photo by Lori Poteet 
Tucker Moseley gets back safely to first base. He scored two runs, pinch running for Merica Tuesday.
The Paper photo by Lori Poteet
Tucker Moseley gets back safely to first base. He scored two runs, pinch running for Merica Tuesday.

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 series Thursday.

“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.”