By Jason Haddix
For The Herald Bulletin
LAPEL, Ind. —
A balanced offensive attack and a dominating pitching performance paced the Frankton Eagles as they soared past the Winchester Eagles in the opening round of the IHSAA Class 2A baseball Sectional No. 40, 10-0.
Frankton jumped out to a 9-0 lead before Mother Nature halted play with lightning and a rain shower in the bottom of the fourth inning, resulting in a 52-minute weather delay.
“We played very good the first four innings, and then I thought we came out very flat after the rain delay,” Hughes said. “We have to learn from that and play like we did the first four innings the whole tournament. “If we play like we did after the rain we are going to be in trouble.”
Trevor Hughes set the tone early for the Eagles when he led off the bottom of the first inning with his second home run of the season. The senior went 1-for-2, with three runs scored.
Junior Logan Weins followed up Hughes’ long ball in the first with a double, and then scored on Jon Griffey’s RBI double. The following inning, he took a 2-0 pitch over the center field wall for his second home run of the year.
“It is the key in the whole sectional to come out and play early,” Hughes said. “Especially on a team like that has struggled all year, get on top of them early, they tend to flatten.”
As the Eagles offense continued to put runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of each inning, starting pitcher Austin Webb kept the Falcons grounded.
“I had to get on top of them early in the count,” Webb said. “Don’t give them any chances and had to keep them down. The defense played well and that helped my pitching.”
Webb tossed four shutout innings, allowing five runners on one hit with a walk and three strikeouts. Hughes sat his starter after the delay in favor of junior Chase Smith.
In the nightcap, the Shenandoah Raiders disposed of the Muncie Burris Owls 10-0 to advance and play Frankton tonight in the first of a pair of sectional round-two tilts.
Like the Eagles, the Raiders jumped out early with three runs in the first inning and five in the second.
“Scoring early was the key to the game,” Shenandoah coach Jack Lewis said. “We played really well tonight and executed everything we tried to execute. When we show up and play like that we can play, we just need to work on consistency.”
The barrage was capped off by a three-run inside the park home run off the bat of Trevor Connor. The drive to deep right field gave him four RBIs, after a first-inning sacrifice fly drove in Jacob Fish for the first of his three runs scored.
“Right when it came off the bat I knew it was a great shot,” Conner said. “I kept hustling and hustling. I had a good feeling about it.”
The junior went 2-for-2 with two runs scored. Fish went 1-for-1 with a single and two walks.
Muncie Burris was unable to dig out of its hole as Raiders junior pitcher Terick Warner held the Owls in check. He went four innings and allowed one hit with four walks and seven strikeouts.
Shenandoah (11-17) will face Frankton (13-8) in the opening game of tonight’s sectional doubleheader at Lapel High School. It is a rematch of a May 15 matchup that the Eagles won 11-5.
“We are going to go back as a staff and see what matchups worked well for us and what matchups did not against Frankton,” Lewis said. “We have rebounded and put our ears back.”