News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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May 12, 2014

Patriots rule: Terre Haute North rallies to win Big Four title

TERRE HAUTE — Pitchers’ duels, on the final day of Big Four high school baseball, are not to be expected, and what turned out to be the championship game Monday night lived up to those expectations as visiting Terre Haute North wrapped up their title with a 13-9 win at West Vigo.

West Vigo’s Zach Edwards actually threatened to exceed those expectations and took a 5-0 lead into the top of the fourth inning, but the Patriots had three big rallies in the last four frames to pick up the win.

“Zach Edwards pitched outstanding in his first start of the season and facing the lineup he faced,” coach Culley DeGroote of the Vikings said after the game. “He put us in position to win.”

“You can’t really pitch around me with the lineup we have,” added North catcher T.J. Collett, who actually got three pitches to hit — after four walks in North’s win on Saturday — and had a single, double and school-record 14th homer of the season. “[My getting to hit] can be attributed to the rest of the team getting on base and the guys hitting behind me.”

Edwards scattered four hits and left five North runners stranded in the first three innings, but a leadoff walk in the top of the fourth was followed by a Lane Dransfield single and, one out later, back-to-back doubles by Austin Turner and Jonathan Eilbracht.

“He drove in the first two runs,” North coach Shawn Turner said of his son, “and that was very important. Things weren’t going very well at that time.”

After the second out, an intentional walk to Collett backfired thanks to a run-scoring wild pitch and an RBI single by Nathan Will.

“Nathan hit some pretty hard-hit balls,” said Collett of the man behind him in the lineup, who went 3 for 4.

West Vigo loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the fifth on a hit by Jordan Schaffer and two walks, but failed to break the tie. The Patriots made them pay with five unearned runs in the top of the sixth.

Eilbracht started the inning with a hit, but was thrown out trying to score from first on Collett’s double. A two-out error then gave North a run and kept the inning alive for an RBI single by Chase Jones and a three-run homer by Dransfield.

West Vigo had its own two-out rally in the bottom of the inning. Alec Blair, who’d had a leadoff walk, scored on Davie Inman’s two-out single, Schaffer walked and Brandin Behringer launched a three-run homer.

The VIkings had two more errors in the top of the seventh, however, and North got three more runs — a two-run single by Zach Milam and Collett’s record-breaking homer.

“North continued to hit,” DeGroote said afterward, “and I don’t think they panicked when they got down. Against that deep a lineup, you’ve got to make play after play after play.”

West Vigo had taken its early lead on an error, a hit batter, a single by Behringer, a two-run single by Derrick Bennett and run-scoring grounders by Donnie Ames and Ty Lautenschlager. Ames had a run-scoring single as the Vikings increased their lead to 5-0 in the third.

“We play Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and West Vigo is too good a team to play the Monday after the prom,” Shawn Turner said. “[The Vikings] did a laot of things right, and we were lethargic at the beginning.”

“Errors, and not hitting with guys on base,” DeGroote lamented, “but that’s part of playing against good teams.”

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