GREENFIELD — For Greenfield-Central head baseball coach Robbie Miller, there are two ways to analyze the Cougars doubleheader losses to New Castle on Saturday afternoon.
With a glass-half-full perspective, Greenfield-Central struck out 14 batters between its two starting pitchers and collected four extra-base hits and 12 walks offensively. However, Miller said he knows allowing 10 earned runs won’t win many Hoosier Heritage Conference doubleheaders.
Home runs from junior Jared Heard and freshman Mason Gillis helped the Trojans take two conference wins from the Cougars as New Castle, which collected 12 hits on Saturday, won 6-3 in the first game and 4-2 in the second.
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“Bottom line is we have to score more runs,” Miller said. “We have to be more disciplined and take what the pitchers give us. It’s about doing the little things we need to do to help us. Offensively, we just have to get better.”
Senior southpaw Tate Hall, who did not play baseball his junior season to focus on basketball, took the loss on the mound for the Cougars in the first game and finished with six strikeouts and four walks. He allowed four earned runs, including three in the first inning, when Heard sent one deep for the Trojans.
“He left one pitch up, and the kid did what he was supposed to do with it,” Miller said. “Other than that, I think he gave up just one run after that. He’s going to get better.”
New Castle started the game with back-to-back singles before Heard, the team’s No. 4 hitter, sent a shot over the right-field fence. Greenfield-Central joined the scoring column two innings later in the third as junior Tyler Farrell’s RBI single to right field would score leadoff man Drey Jameson, who reached on a double, to pull the Cougars within two, 3-1.
Farrell finished the first game 2-for-3 with a double, a run scored, two walks and two RBIs.
Farrell’s RBI double in the seventh inning helped Greenfield-Central tack on two more runs, but it was too little too late for the Cougars, who committed three errors in the loss.
Spencer Hert also added an RBI single in the seventh for Greenfield-Central. He finished 1-for-3.
Jameson got the start for the Cougars and allowed one run in the first inning before settling in during the next three.In the fifth inning, however, Gillis would send a blast to deep left center field to give New Castle a lead it would never surrender.
The junior hurler finished the game with eight strikeouts over five innings while only walking two batters. He did allow four hits, though, and hit three batters late in the game.
“He struggled early,” Miller said. “The kid (Gillis) hit a good ball, but he made a lot of good pitches. With him and Tate (Hall) being basketball players, it’s going to take some time to get their arm in shape. Drey is going to be fine.”
The Cougars finished with four hits, three being doubles, and six walks.
However, according to Miller, being aggressive with runners in scoring position was the team’s downfall on Saturday. Although Miller said he saw improvement, Greenfield-Central stranded seven runners in the loss.
“In the second game, we had much better approaches at the plate,” he said. “When it comes down to it, when we have runners in scoring position we have to put the ball in play. We have to make their defense make plays. We have to shorten up and put the ball in play.”
Senior Tyler Mundell lead the team with a 2-for-3 effort at the plate including a double in the third inning.
‘POTENTIAL TO WIN’
For the Cougars, nobody expects more out of themselves than Jameson.Although the junior finished the day 2-for-5 with two runs and two stolen bases, he said he knows, as one of Greenfield-Central’s top pitchers and the team’s leadoff man, he must do more.
“The team feeds off what I do,” Jameson said. “My at-bats were not sparking anything. We just need to stop thinking and play the game we know how to.
“I have really high standards for myself. I want to be the best player every time I step on the field.”
He’s been impressive thus far in his young career for the Cougars as he hit .337 last season and finished with a 2.83 ERA on the mound.
And this season, college coaches already have been out in the chilly spring weather to watch him play. For now, though, Jameson has more immediate goals than playing at the next level.
“I think we have the potential to win the sectional; it’s just a matter of our approaches at the plate,” he said. “Our defense is very good. Our outfielders all have good arms. We also have good bench players.
“We have a good ball program, and we have the potential to go as far as we put our minds to it.”
New Castle 6, Greenfield-Central 3
SCORE BY INNINGS R H E
NC (1-4, 1-2 HHC);300;110;1;—;6;9;0
GC (1-3, 0-1 HHC);001;000;2;—;3;6;3
WP: Garrett Welch (NC) . LP: Tate Hall (GC).
2B: Farrell (G-C). Conway 2 (NC) HR: Heard (NC). RBI: Farrell 2, Hert (G-C). Heard 3, C. Matthews, T. Matthews, Conway (NC).
GC: Hall 6K, McDowell 2-4, Farrell 2-3, Jameson SB, Davis 3K.
Greenfield-Central 2, New Castle 4
SCORE BY INNINGS R H E
GC (1-4, 0-2 HHC) ;010;001;0;—;2;4;0
NC (2-4, 2-2 HHC) ;100;030;0;—;4;4;1
WP: Jordan May (NC). LP: Drey Jameson (GC).
2B: Jameson, T. Mundell, B. Turner (GC). C. Matthews (NC). HR: Gillis (NC). RBI: McDowell (GC). Gillis 2, Welch, C. Matthews (NC).
GC: Jameson SB, run, 8K, T. Mundell 2-3, Davis run, McDowell 2 BB.