WEST LAFAYETTE – For the second time in four days, the Lebanon handed North Montgomery a loss in Sagamore Athletic Conference play. The Tigers gave up 10 singles, but the Chargers could only cobble together two runs, and fell 4-2 at Purdue's Alexander Field Friday.
The Chargers' Jordan Lewis (LP) limited Lebanon (4-8, 3-5 SAC) to seven hits in the complete game, and Tiger starter Jackson Bland (WP) allowed ten in six innings. But it was Lebanon's ability to string hits together that gave them the win.
Scoreless through three innings, Lebanon finally broke through with three runs in the bottom of the fourth. Caleb Myers led off with a single to left, and the Tigers' Bryce Shearer and Jackson Bland followed with sharp hits. Zach Dafoe's walk loaded the bases, and Cooper Farris recorded the second RBI of the inning on an infield out.
“The heart of our order – our 3-4-5 batters – got the inning going, then we had some other kids step up and contribute as well.” Tiger coach Rick Cosgray reported. “We've been emphasizing that we have to be productive – you know, 1 through 9. For the most part tonight, I thought we were.”
For the greater part of the game, North Montgomery (15-4, 7-2 SAC), hit the ball sharply. Baylee Adams and Jordan Lewis each had two hits. However, Chargers head coach Matt Merica saw opportunities missed.
“Obviously, base running was a major flaw for us, tonight,” said the coach. “I take full responsibility for that. I took us out of a big inning, sending a guy [home]. We probably would have scored a couple of runs.”
That play occurred in the top half of the sixth, with the Chargers trailing 3-1. Pinch-hitter Collin Knecht singled home Adams, but Lewis was gunned down at the plate by left fielder Cooper Farris. Farris had a big night, adding three diving grabs – one squelching a big inning for the Chargers, and another shoestring grab doubling off a Charger runner at second. The last diving catch ended the game.
The defensive effort pleased Cosgray. “Our kids understand, and know how to react to situations. But most importantly, tonight and Tuesday, we were successful at making the routine play.”
Despite Friday's loss, Merica challenged his players to look forward. “I was pleased with the way the kids battled back. We're not going to let two games against Lebanon define our season.”
“We've got a lot of baseball left."