News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

April 28, 2013

No. 3 Terre Haute North baseball splits with No. 9 Center Grove

Hicks tosses three-hit shutout

TERRE HAUTE — Terre Haute North got another brilliant pitching performance from Austin Hicks on Saturday at Center Grove in a 2-0 victory for the Patriots in Game 1 of the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference high school baseball doubleheader.

Hicks hurled a three-hit shutout to improve to 5-0 on the year.

“It’s pretty nice when you got a rhythm going and you’re unpredictable. You have a good chance to have a good day and Austin did a nice job for us,” North coach Shawn Turner said.

But the Class 4A No. 9-ranked Trojans turned the tables on the No. 3 Patriots in Game 2. Center Grove left-hander Nick Owen pitched a five-hit shutout in an 8-0 win.

The split left North 14-2 overall and 6-2 in the MIC going into Thursday’s game with Terre Haute South. Center Grove is 10-3 and 8-1 respectively.

In the opener, Hicks had every pitch working. The junior right-hander mixed a curveball with well-placed fastballs to keep the Center Grove hitters in check.

“This [game] reminds me of the Warren Central game, the no-hitter game,” Hicks said. “I had everything working, throwing hard, locating pitches. Just a great game.”

Hicks struck out seven, but did not walk a batter. And five of those strikeouts came against Center Groves’ three-four-five hitters. The Trojans were looking for first-pitch fastbal, but Hicks kept them off balance with a first-pitch breaking ball.

“I like to throw [the curve]. I have a lot of confidence in it and I know I have a great catcher [T.J. Collett] back there behind me,” Hicks said.

Two North errors in the second inning might have got Hicks into trouble, but Collett threw out a runner trying to steal second base. An infield groundball ended the inning.

“When [Hicks is] on the mound he gives us a chance. He gives every player on the field and in the dugout a lot of confidence. He obviously feeds off it himself, but it’s interchangeable. He does that for our team from the mound and they play some defense and hit for him,” Turner said.

North scored its only two runs of the day in the second inning when Center Grove pitcher Jay Prior lost the strike zone. Nathan Will singled with one out then Colton Pittman and Lance Dransfield received back-to-back walks.

With the bases loaded and one out, Hicks hit a bouncer back to the pitcher and Will was thrown out a home. But the bases were still loaded and Jonathan Eilbracht received a walk that scored one run.

North’s Gabe Sevigny hit a grounder to the shortstop, but the Center Grove second baseman dropped the throw, allowing Dransfield to score and the bases were still loaded. But two runs were all North could get out of the bases-loaded opportunity and it became a theme for the day.

North’s Sevigny, Zach Milan and Collett put together hits in the fifth inning to load the bases. But Center Grove’s Prior struck out the next two batters. In Game 2, North loaded the bases in the sixth with no outs on singles by Eilbracht and Sevigny and a Trojan error, but the next three Patriots struck out.

“We were very ineffective at the plate today. We didn’t do anything when it counted. We were able to get bases loaded, I think, three or four times through the course of the day and we got nothing out of it,” Turner said.

Milan led North’s eight-hit effort in Game 1 with a double and single.

In Game 2, while North struggled at the plate against the Center Grove’s left-hander, the Trojans pounded out 11 hits, including two home runs, against three North pitchers.

Eilbracht accounted for two of North’s five hits and Will doubled in the second game.

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