Lebanon’s Caleb Linton hit a walk-off homer to give the Tigers a 6-5 victory over Class 3A No. 2-ranked Western in a game Saturday morning in the Bullpen-PBR Indiana Series at Championship Park.
Linton’s homer — which came on a full count and with two outs — broke a 5-all tie. Western had scored in the top of the inning to pull even.
“The walk-off home run was not the story,” Western coach Ryan Berryman said. “We stranded 11 runners, struck out 11 times, and never got timely hitting or a ground ball to plate runs. Our approaches were not aggressive and we took way too many fastballs.”
Evan Stout started and pitched 5.2 innings for the Panthers. He allowed six hits and three earned runs, struck out six and walked three. James Paden pitched the seventh and took the loss.
“Evan Stout threw well and battled for us but unfortunately, our defense and offense weren’t clicking,” Berryman said. “We threw a ball away on a pick off in the first that gave them two extra runs and we were chasing the scoreboard from the start.
“We chipped away, got back in it, took the lead 4-3 in the fourth and tied it up in the seventh, but couldn’t get over the hump. Having bases loaded and no outs in the fifth and not scoring was the game. We’ve got to capitalize on our opportunities.”
Mitchell Dean had a triple and single to lead the Panthers (3-1). Christian Pownall had two singles and an RBI, Cade Epp had an RBI single and Bret Echelbarger had a triple.
AVON 14, KOKOMO 3, 6 INN.
Also in the Bullpen-PBR Indiana Series at Championship Park, Avon scored five runs in the top of the fourth to open the scoring, then added nine more over the next two frames to end the game an inning early.
John Curl led the Kats (1-3) at the plate, going 2 for 3 and scoring twice. Opening pitcher Isaac Flamino threw two scoreless frames with two walks, a hit and two strikeouts. Reliever Ashton Sexton took the loss with five unearned runs. The Kats committed five errors.
NW HAS 2-0 DAY
Northwestern took fifth place in the Howard County Invitational after bouncing back from a loss in Friday’s opening round to beat Eastern and Bluffton in games Saturday at Taylor.
The Tigers rallied to beat the Comets 3-2. The Tigers scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth to draw even and scored a run in the bottom of the seventh for a walk-off win. Cameron Davis and Eastin Whaley drew walks, Jansen Slate sacrificed them to third and second, and Davis scored on a wild pitch or passed ball.
Whaley finished 1 for 2 with an RBI single and Lincoln Cardwell was 1 for 1 with a double. Hayden Cook earned the win after pitching a scoreless seventh inning. A.J. Burkholder started and pitched six innings. He allowed one hit and two runs (both unearned) with six strikeouts and three walks.
The win put Northwestern in the fifth-place game against Bluffton. Down 6-0 after the first inning, Northwestern stormed back for a 12-6 win.
Karson Griggs pitched six innings of scoreless relief for the win. He allowed two hits, struck out 10 and walked none.
Cardwell was 3 for 4 with a double and two RBI and Jaden Castleberry was 2 for 3 with an RBI single.
Cardwell, Burkholder and Griggs all made the all-tourney team.
Northwestern closed the first week of the season 4-1.
“We showed a lot of heart throughout this first week,” coach Ryan Ward said. “Of the five games, four of them we were down after the first inning, including both of the games [Saturday]. We showed a lot of heart and a lot of grit and our pitching staff has done an amazing job. We’re really deep on the mound right now.”
PERU HAS 1-1 DAY
Peru took second place in the Howard County Invitational after splitting a pair of games Saturday at Northwestern.
Peru beat LaVille 7-1. Matthew Roettger pitched five solid innings for the win. He allowed one run on four hits, struck out six and walked three. Jackson Rogers pitched two scoreless innings in relief. At the plate, Cooper Baldwin went 3 for 3, Rogers was 2 for 4 and Reis Bellar was 2 for 4.
That win put Peru in the championship against Three Rivers Conference rival Rochester. The Zebras beat the Tigers 6-2. Jaxson Manriquez, Rogers, Gavin Eldridge and Ian Potts had two hits apiece. Potts took the loss.
Potts, Eldridge, Rogers and Bellar made the all-tourney team.
MAC SWEEPS DH
Maconaquah (4-1) swept a home doubleheader against Faith Christian, winning the opener 17-0 in three innings and taking the closer 17-7.
The Braves blew open the first game by scoring 15 runs in the first frame.
Braxton Birner threw all three innings for the win, with one hit, a walk and two strikeouts.
Klaytin Kile and Jordan Ellis were each 2 for 2 with two RBI for the Braves.
Trace Armstrong came up big at the plate and on the mount in the closer. Faith opened a 7-0 lead in the second game but Mac closed the margin with two runs in the third four in the fourth, then ended the game early with 11 in the fifth.
Armstrong put the game to bed with a homer in the fifth. Brandon Smitley led Mac’s offense, going 2 for 3 with two RBI.
Armstrong had three RBI and Kaleb Shelton two.
Armstrong threw two scoreless, hitless innings of relief to win the closer. He had a walk and three strikeouts.
EASTERN 3, JEFF 2
The Comets (1-1) swept the doubles action in beating North Central Conference squad Lafayette Jeff. The No. 1 doubles team of Madi Guinn and Claire Wavra won 6-4, 6-4 and the No. 2 team of Emma Budde and Julia Salkie won 6-1, 6-1. Also for the Comets, No. 1 singles player Emily Princell won 6-2, 6-1.
“Great to get our first win of the season,” Eastern coach Pat Rice said. “We chose to move the lineup around and I felt it paid off. Great work by Madi and Claire at 1 doubles. They are still getting used to playing together. And our two freshmen, Emma and Julia at 2 doubles made quick work. Nice to see Emily Princell pick up her first win at 1 singles as well.”
EASTERN 11, TIPTON 1
Macy Coan pitched a four-hitter and delivered at the plate and the Comets (3-1) banged 17 hits in a game that went all seven innings.
Seven Comets had multi-hit games. Macy Coan went 3 for 4 with three runs batted in. Maggie Johnson was 2 for 3. Kendall Wilson and Ellie Winger were each 2 for 4. And Allison Delgado, Marly Coan and Emilia Andrews were each 2 for 5. Wilson, Winger, Delgado and Marly Coan each drove in two runs.
Macy Coan threw all seven innings with five hits, two walks, an unearned run and 12 strikeouts.
D.J. Nantroup was 3 for 4 for the Blue Devils (0-4).
HEIGHTS 2, MAC 1
Mac scored a run in the first inning but couldn’t add to the lead and Hamilton Heights took the game with two runs in the top of the fourth.
Blayklee Buman was 3 for 3 for the Braves (0-2) and Amaya Rader was 2 for 3. Buman pitched all seven and took the loss. She gave up just four hits and had no walks while striking out 11. Both runs were unearned.
“Defensively we held a good-hitting team to only two runs. Buman pitched a great game,” Mac coach Jesse Carson said. “We made a few mistakes, however our two errors were aggressive mistakes trying to make tough plays Offensively we took a step forward following our Eastern opener. The girls are looking more comfortable in the batters’ box but we still have a ways to go.”