TERRE HAUTE —
With luck, the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference high school baseball race will sort itself out sometime late today at Terre Haute South.
Not much was accomplished along those lines Thursday night at Terre Haute North, however, as lightning, incoming rain and the MIC rule that mandates full seven-inning games all contributed to an early break in an entertaining first game of the North-South series.
Play is scheduled to resume at 5 p.m. today at South, where the Patriots will try to hold onto a precarious 6-5 lead in a game entering the top of the fifth inning. The regularly scheduled game today between the two teams will follow.
Again, with luck. The weather forecast is not promising.
North took its lead by scoring twice in each of the first three innings, but South freshman Justin Jenkins has the biggest hit of the game so far, a two-out, bases-loaded double in the top of the second that enabled the Braves to score four unearned runs.
The Patriots got on the board in the bottom of the first with four hits, including run-scoring singles by T.J. Collett and Colton Pittman, but a dropped third strike allowed South’s leadoff batter in the second to reach base.
Cody Brock singled with one out and Spence Tofaute worked a two-out walk to load the bases. Jenkins hit the next pitch deep to left-center — North’s Lane Dransfield diving unsuccessfully to try to prevent the hit — and he scored moments later on a single by Jared Wolfe.
A leadoff walk and a one-out error in the bottom of the second helped North tie the game, Zach Milam driving in one run with a single and Collett getting his second RBI with a grounder.
The home team regained its lead the next inning, which included a single by Nathan Will, a ground-rule double by Pittman, a perfectly placed hit-and-run single by Austin Hicks and a delayed double steal by Hicks and Dransfield — who had reached on a fielder’s choice earlier — that may or may not have worked exactly as coach Shawn Turner planned.
South was within a run in the top of the fourth after Spence Tofaute drew a second walk, stole second and scored from there after Wolfe’s infield single was thrown away. And that’s when the first lightning was spotted.
Several other weather occurrences led to an 81-minute delay, and pitching changes for both teams. North’s Tristan Pate retired the side without allowing another run to score, and Brock survived two baserunners in the bottom of the inning.
South’s Austin Slover looked at a strike to start the top of the fifth, and more lightning was seen. With the game far from completion and with more severe weather on the way, the decision was made quickly — and quite correctly, as it turned out — to suspend play until today.
Neither coach was completely satisfied with his respective team — there were seven combined errors in the first four innings — and when it was suggested to Turner that play had been a little sloppy, he answered, “It was a lot sloppy.
“We looked like a team that hasn’t played in five or six days,” Turner continued. “I can’t fault the enthusiasm, but we were playing a little tight … we’ve gotten in our own way a few times.”
Turner liked a couple of things about North’s performance.
“I was very impressed with our hitting, especially early in the game,” he said. As far as North’s aggressive baserunning — which had mixed success — was concerned, he added, “We’re really stressing getting good reads and making the defense think.”
“I’m happy we were able to not give up two runs in the bottom of the fourth,” said coach Kyle Kraemer of South. “We are very fortunate to be where we’re at in the game; I feel like [the Patriots] have outplayed us in every facet.”
Freshman Jenkins and Collett have combined to produce seven runs so far — not a completely positive stat according to Kraemer.
“It would be great to get our seniors to step up,” he said. “Hopefully they will [today].”
• Internet stream — Play-by-play will be provided at 4:45 p.m. today and for the Big Four games starting at 9:45 a.m. Saturday on WabashValleySports.com; whichever game determines the Big Four title is also scheduled to be broadcast there at 5:45 p.m. Monday.
Terre Haute South 040 1 — 5 5 2
Terre Haute North 222 0 — 6 8 5
Play resumes in the top of the fifth inning today.
Olds, Ames (2), Brock (4) and P.Tofaute; Wolf, Pate (4) and Collett.
Highlights — For North, Colton Pittman is 2 for 3 with a double, T.J. Collett 1 for 3 with 2 RBIs and Gabe Sevigny 1 for 3 with 2 runs. For South, Jared Wolfe is 2 for 2 and Justin Jenkins is 1 for 3 with a 3-run double.
Next — North (14-2, 6-2 MIC) and South (12-4, 7-1) resume this game at 5 p.m. today at South, followed by the regularly scheduled Big Four game between the teams.