NEW PALESTINE — To advance to the sectional semifinal, Greenfield-Central played Greenfield-Central baseball.

Small ball, aggressive baserunning and strong pitching, all things the Cougars (12-13) pride themselves on, were on display in a five-inning win over Anderson (11-16).

A 10-run fifth inning allowed the Cougars to end things early with a 12-2 win over the Indians at New Palestine High School in a first round Class 4A Sectional 9 game.

“We just continued to stay who we are, and we know who we are. We’re a small ball team that’s going to bunt, go out and try to steal bases, try squeezes,” Greenfield-Central head coach Mitch Gibson said. “If we manage to do those little things right, we’re a dangerous team.”

Entering the fifth in a 2-2 game, the Greenfield-Central offense used eight hits, three walks, and two hit-by-pitches to break through for 10 runs.

All eight hits were singles, while two were bunts and one was an infield single. Two of the runs came on wild pitches.

“To be able to go in there execute squeezes, execute sacrifice bunts, read balls down in the dirt, and hit and run well, that kick-started us,” Gibson said.

Luke Sitzman began the inning with a walk and was followed by five straight singles.

Jacob Welch had the first, Dylan Luther reached on a bunt single, and Zander Cobb had an infield single to score the first run of the inning.

Brady Johnson kept things going with another single to drive in the second run of the frame, and Owen Zumbolo reached on a squeeze bunt to score another.

The next two Greenfield-Central batters were hit by Anderson pitcher Kaydin Hutchison to bring in two more runs and end his night.

It was the first of two pitching changes the Indians made in the inning, and neither did the trick.

Hunter Anderson entered in relief and faced just two batters. Gavin Markus singled in a run and Sitzman walked for the second time in the inning.

To try and keep the game alive, Anderson went to Isaac McKenzie, but the Greenfield-Central offense kept attacking.

RBI singles by Luther and Zumbolo capped off the game.

“I think it’s just us letting them understand that when we have a guy in scoring position with nobody out, our mindsets need to not be selfish, we need to hit for the team,” Gibson said. “I’m not going to try and hit a gapper, I’m going to hit a ground ball the other way and get the guy to third or home.”

The teams traded runs in the third. The Cougars scored a pair on a throwing error by the Indians, and Anderson grabbed their runs on two wild pitches by G-C starting pitcher Parker Rhodes.

Other than those two blunders, Rhodes was near perfect. He allowed just two hits and one walk while striking out 15. In the second, fourth and fifth he sent the Indians down in order, and in the first struck out Kendall looking to strand runners on second and third.

“After that hit-by-pitch in the first he had command of all his stuff. He was throwing three pitches for strikes and had good movement on his slider. Sometimes he didn’t locate the slider well to start at-bats and that allowed them to sit on fastball and that’s how they got those two hits,” Gibson said. “He’s a guy that knows his success rate goes up if he gets ahead in the count and that’s what we saw after that.”

On the night, Luther was 3-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored, Welch and Kyle Oden each had a double and two total hits, and Cobb and Zumbolo each drove in a pair.

Greenfield-Central will play Pendleton Heights in the second semifinal game on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m.

Greenfield-Central 12, Anderson 2

Anderson (11-16);002;00;—;2;2;1

Greenfield-Central (12-13);002;0(10);—12;12;0

Kadyn Kendall, Kaydin Hutchison (4), Hunter Anderson (5), Isaac McKenzie (5) and Jaxon Milburn; Parker Rhodes and Zander Cobb. 2B: G-C – Jacob Welch, Kyle Oden. WP: Rhodes (3-4). LP: Hutchison (4-4).