By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
PENDLETON, Ind. —
Pendleton Heights was down 3-1 after three innings but used a five-run fourth to power past Frankton 7-3 on Friday evening.
The Arabians rode a ringing, bases-loaded, bases-clearing, two-out double by Hunter Cook that made the score 4-3. That gave PH a lead it would never relinquish in making the title game of the Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament for the ninth time.
“They were staying away from him so he went with the pitch,” said PH coach Trevor Keesling. “He just has to trust that swing. He has to let the ball get a little deeper when he swings, and he did that.”
At first the inning looked like it would fizzle against Eagles starter Austin Webb. Chandler Wilson opened things with a walk, and Frankton coach Greg Hughes replaced Reed with T.J. Eads. Eads hit Augdon Wilson and one out later walked Thomas Hall.
Kurt Talbert blooped a ball into short right field, and Chandler Wilson, who had to hold up to see if the ball was caught, was thrown out at the plate. That left the bases loaded and set the stage for Cook’s big blast.
“I was looking for anything I could drive,” said Cook. “I just tried to go with the pitch. I knew if I tried to pull it I’d just roll it over.”
Brogan Gary followed with a double to make it 5-3, and Cody Altherr completed the scoring with an RBI single.
Altherr was the PH starting pitcher. He had a rough first inning, walking Trevor Hughes and then giving up a two-run homer to Matt Kunce. Then Altherr calmed down and only gave up four hits over the next five innings before being relieved in the seventh.
“He’s a bulldog,” said Keesling of Altherr. “It was a tough day to pitch. He settled down nicely.”
The Arabians reached tonight’s matchup with Anderson and look warily at the Indians.
“I knew they had great pitching,” said Keesling of the Indians. “But the 16 runs (scored in the semifinal against Alexandria) is scary.”