PENDLETON — When the pitching is there, the offense is not. Sometimes it’s the defense that decides to show up. However, when all three phases of the game come together for the Greenfield-Central baseball team, the Cougars will be a very dangerous team.
In Game 1 of the team’s doubleheader Friday evening at Pendleton Heights, Greenfield-Central, which received seven strikeouts from starting pitcher Tate Hall, blasted 10 hits off a quality Arabians pitching staff but only managed to bring home two runs. Game 2 was much of the same as the team managed just four hits.
Hall took the first loss and Drey Jameson fell in Game 2 as Pendleton Heights topped Greenfield-Central 9-2 and 2-1 in Hoosier Heritage Conference doubleheader action.
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“Bottom line, I have to get guys to hit the ball when runners are in scoring position,” Cougars head coach Robbie Miller said. “You have to do the little things right to win a baseball game. They did it, and we didn’t.”
Greenfield-Central (7-10, 3-7 HHC) got on the board in the second inning after singles from Nick Atwood, Spencer Hert and Braxton Turner. Drew McDowell, the team’s No. 9 hitter, grounded to shortstop in the ensuing at-bat to score Atwood for an early 1-0 lead.
“He’s (Atwood) going to keep getting better,” Miller said of his freshman. “He’s a competitor; I wouldn’t have him up here if I didn’t believe in him.”
Pendleton Heights (13-5, 7-3 HHC) answered, however, with four runs off three hits in the bottom half of the inning to take a 4-1 lead. Brandon Helpling doubled to left field to score two Arabians after a leadoff walk and a single from Mitchell Fowler.
Hall helped his own cause by getting a run back for the Cougars in the third, grounding a ball to first base to score Jameson, who reached on a leadoff walk.
Leading 4-2 heading into the top of the fourth inning, the Arabians made a pitching change that failed to work in their favor. Fowler replaced Casey Branham, who threw three innings while allowing five hits and back-to-back singles by Hert and Turner. He retired the next three Greenfield-Central batters, though, to escape the inning.
Hall found himself in a similar position in the bottom of the fifth with Pendleton Heights leading 5-2. After retiring the first batter, Hall allowed three straight singles to load the bases. However, back-to-back strikeouts ended the inning for the left-handed pitcher.
“Tate threw the ball well enough to win the ballgame,” Miller said.
Hall, after five innings of work, was replaced by Landen Davis in the sixth. Davis allowed four runs off five hits as the Arabians took a commanding 9-2 advantage with one inning yet to play.
Tyler Farrell singled in the top of the seventh, but that would be all for Greenfield-Central as Branham (3-1) earned the win for Pendleton Heights, who remains in second in the HHC behind New Palestine.
Farrell, Hert and Turner each added two hits in the loss for the Cougars.
Greenfield-Central and Pendleton Heights traded runs in the first two innings as the Cougars struck first with Hall collecting a RBI single to score Jameson, who led off the game reaching first base on a dropped third strike.
After a scoreless third frame, Jameson worked his way into a bases loaded jam in the top of the fourth inning but allowed only one run after getting a ground ball followed by a strikeout to end the inning with the Arabians leading 2-1.
Jameson was replaced by Hert in the sixth and finished with six strikeouts and two earned runs off five hits. He also walked just two batters.
Hert struck out four but received no help from the Greenfield-Central offense as the Cougars could not manage any runs in the final two innings.
Greenfield-Central will play 6 p.m. Monday at Lebanon.
Greenfield-Central 2, Pendleton Heights 9
GCHS (7-9, 3-6 HHC);011;000;0; -;2;10;3
PHHS (12-5, 6-3 HHC);040;014;x; -;9;13;2
WP: Casey Branham (3-1). LP: Tate Hall (1-5).
2B: Helpling (PH). RBI: McDowell, Hall (GC). Helpling 2, Putnam 2, Fowler 3, Robertson, Lawson (PH).
GC: Hall 7k, single, RBI, Farrell 2-4 two singles, Hert 2-3, Turner 2-3.
Pendleton Heights 2, Greenfield-Central 1
PHHS (13-5, 7-3 HHC);010;10;0; -;2;6;0
GCHS (7-10, 3-7 HHC);100;000;0; -;1;4;0
WP: Chayce McDermott (3-0) LP: Drey Jameson (2-3).
RBI: Hall (GC). Lawson, Helpling (PH).
SB: Jameson (GC).
GC: Hall RBI single, Farrell single, Jameson single, Turner single.