News From Terre Haute, Indiana


April 30, 2014

Collett’s 10th homer lifts Patriots

Terre Haute North earns its ninth victory of season

TERRE HAUTE — T.J. Collett hit his 10th home run and Terre Haute North won its ninth game of the season Wednesday night at Don Jennings Field.

Collett, who surpassed his freshman total of nine home runs just 12 games into the season, hit a towering shot to straightaway center field in the first inning to put North ahead of Vincennes Lincoln.

The Alices countered with a run in the top of the fifth, but Zach Milam delivered the go-ahead RBI double during the Patriots’ six-run fifth inning.

North (9-3) picked up the 7-1 victory and continued to pick up momentum heading into Friday’s doubleheader against Center Grove.

“We’re playing a lot more as a team than we were at the beginning of the year,” Collett said.

North lefty Brandon Taylor picked up the victory in his first varsity start, scattering four hits and striking out four in five innings. The lefty worked ahead in the count until losing a little bit of command when Vincennes got on the scoreboard for a run in the fifth.

“He’s had several relief appearances so [that start was] longer than he’s thrown this year,” coach Shawn Turner said. “He hadn’t thrown for a while, and he did a nice job. He kept us in the ball game.

“First varsity start and hold a team like Vincennes to one run, you’re doing a good job.”

In the bottom of the fifth, Milam took a fastball up in the strike zone from one of Vincennes’ top pitchers, Levi Archer, and drove home Nick Long, who had led off the inning with a single and stole second.

“I tried to pull it, just hit it the other way. The center fielder made a heck of an effort for it and dove. We needed that [inning],” Milam said.

The Patriots took advantage of a couple Vincennes Lincoln miscues to tack on to the lead. Nathan Will’s high fly ball to center field was dropped, and Chase Jones’ sharp grounder to third base was booted.

Runs scored on both plays to put North ahead 4-1, and then Lane Dransfield took an elevated fastball and poked it into shallow right field for an RBI single.

Brett Herndon smashed a two-run single through a hole on the left side for a 7-1 North lead.

Eilbracht and Milam had two hits apiece, and Collett came up five feet short of a three-run homer in the third.

“It is impressive to watch,” Milam said. “Hitting in front of him, I know I’m going to see good pitches to hit.”

Milam raised his batting average to .400 on the season, going 2 for 4. Eilbracht’s 2-for-4 night raised his average to .405.

Collett credits his success to his teammates playing well around him.

“It’s a tribute to the team because I have Nathan Will hitting behind me and Milam and Johnny hitting in front of me, it’s definitely helping me out,” Collett said.

Aside from a throwing error by Collett on a steal attempt, the Patriots played impeccable defense. Austin Turner turned in a couple smooth plays at shortstop to finish off the Alices in the seventh.

Offensively, the Patriots raised their season batting average over the .350 mark to pick up the win. Junior first baseman Chase Jones added a smashed double down the left-field line for North.

“We just square the baseball up and it puts pressure on the defense a little bit. Good bat speed and good speed going down the line and you make things happen,” Turner said.

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