BNL upsets No. 1 Floyd Central, 9-8
Friday, May 16, 2014
BY SEAN DUNCAN firstname.lastname@example.org
BEDFORD — It was by far the biggest win of the season Thursday night for the Bedford North Lawrence baseball team.
The Stars, competing in the consolation bracket of the Hoosiers Hills Conference and facing Class 4A, top-ranked Floyd Central, never surrendered.
BNL battled tooth-and-nail before toppling the high-powered Highlanders with a five-run seventh inning, 9-8.
“We met as a team and talked because we were very disappointed in our loss at Madison,” said BNL coach Jeff Callahan. “We have some tough teams left on the schedule and I told them we can go one of two ways: We either need to get the ship going in the right direction and start playing well and win some games, or it could get ugly.
“This is the type of win against a quality opponent that could really get that ship headed in the right direction.”
Trailing 8-4 as they entered the final frame, the Stars knew they faced the tallest of tasks in piecing together a winning rally.
But BNL remained patient at the plate and it paid off big time.
“We were just going to make them throw strikes,” Callahan said. “They brought (Colton) Kimm in and until he could prove he could throw strikes we were going to be taking. Then once you got a strike it’s all about putting the ball into play and making things happen.”
Kimm came in to relief Floyd starter Phillip Archer (4-0), who held the Stars to just four hits over the first six innings and struck out three, and got off to a rough start.
Brody Tanksley and Ronnie Watson drew back-to-back walks to led off the bottom of the seventh before Drew Hensley singled to left with one out to load the bases.
A patient Tanner Tow then stepped into the batter’s box for BNL and with one powerful swing of the bat cleared the bases with a grand slam to right-center field.
“I got down a full count and I was just trying to put something into play and get some runs in,” Tow said. “I was expecting a curveball, but he gave me a fastball and I sat on that.
“This was a huge win for us, beating the No. 1 team in the state.”
Floyd coach Casey LaDuke graciously tipped his cap to the Stars and their comeback.
“Give them credit, they hit the ball when they needed to,” he said. “We struggled throwing strikes and Tow sat on a fastball and did what he was supposed to do with it. That’s what a good hitter does.”
Tow’s blast rattled Kimm, who hit BNL’s Cole Mathews on the next at bat before walking Jack Green.
With BNL runners on first and second and still only one out, LaDuke decided to lift Kimm and bring in Chaz Adams.
Adams quickly got a 2-2 count on the Stars’ Josh Chaney before the BNL third baseman cracked a groundball to the shortstop.
Michael Springer fielded the ball cleanly for the Highlanders and looked to make an inning-ending double play.
He stepped on second for the force out of Green, but his throw to first went wide of the bag allowing Mathews to round third and score the winning run.
“We just had to make the plays and we didn’t make the plays,” LaDuke said. “We either make the plays and get out of here with a win or we go to extra innings.”
Leading 2-1, Floyd widened its advantage to 8-1 in the sixth as it batted through lineup to score six runs.
The Highlanders highlighted the frantic frame with back-to-back-to-back home runs. Trey Fulton began the hit parade with a two-run shot before Kimm and Brandon Smith followed suit with solo bombs.
The Stars retaliated with three runs in the home half of the inning to cut Floyd’s lead down to 8-4. Chaney slapped a two-run single that scored Drew Hensley and Tow courtesy runner Bristol Anderson before Green was brought in on a balk called on Archer.
Tow finished 2 for 4 with four RBIs and a run scored, while Chaney was 2 for 4 with two RBIs.
BNL (10-11) faces New Albany tonight at Stars Field in the final round of the HHC Tournament. The first pitch set for 6 p.m.
“We’ll get that first HHC championship sometime, but we can still finish fifth in the HHC, which gets us more points than finishing seventh or eighth,” Callahan said.
Contact Times-Mail Sports Editor Sean Duncan at 277-7283, email@example.com, or on Twitter @seantmnews.