EDON – After finding themselves down 2-0 to Stryker after three innings in the May 14th Sectional Final, the North Central Eagles bats finally woke up in the bottom of the fourth frame. The Eagles scored three runs in the inning, then broke the game wide open with eight runs in the bottom of the fifth to post an 11-2 win over the Stryker Panthers to claim the Sectional Crown.
Stryker drew first blood in the top of the first inning. Leadoff batter, Dean Beamont, snuck a single down the third base line past a diving Jordan Reeves. Tyler Teschke then ground into a fielder’s choice. Parker Ruffer deposited the two-one pitch from Eagles hurler, Branden Turner, over the fence in left-center giving the Panthers an early 2-0 advantage.[emember_protected custom_msg=”Full content protected for online subscribers. Purchase a one week subscription from the top menu bar for just $1.99 to read all online content (full access). Longer subscription plans are also available. Subscriptions cover our costs to attend local events; bringing forth Hometown News Coverage to our communities.”]
The lead held until the bottom of the fourth inning. With one out NC’s Colton Pilmore hit a rope towards Stryker shortstop Beamont. The ball took a wild hop over the shortstop’s head into center field for a single. Ryan Bethel followed with an infield hit to third. Runners were now on second and first, as Jordan Bailey was inserted to pinch run for Pilmore. With the count at 1-2, Jordan Reeves lashed a single to center scoring Bailey and moving Bethel to third. Turner duplicated his teammate’s feat by stroking another base knock up the middle plating Bethel and moving Reeves to third to knot the score at two. Jalen Dancer was intentionally walked to load the bases with just one out. Now with Josh Sawyer at the plate, Reeves was able to score what turned out to be the winning run when he raced home on a passed ball. Ruffer minimized the damage by setting down Sawyer and Kole Peterson on strikes.
The Panthers were able to get Nathan Yoder and Tyler Teschke on base via free passes in the fifth, however Turner was able to escape the threat without any damage. The Eagle half of the inning was a different story. Dylan Hutchison earned first base after being brushed by a Ruffer fastball and stole to advance to second. Clayton Ferguson sent Hutchison home with a single to left field. Pilmore added his second safety of the night, this time between short and third, sending Ferguson home with the fifth run of the night for North Central. Bethel moved Pilmore into scoring position with a sacrifice, then Reeves was pasted between the numbers with a Ruffer fastball placing runners on 1st and 2nd. The hit by pitch prompted Brett Greiser to make a pitching change as Chad Ruffer and Parker Ruffer traded positions. Both runners advanced a base when Ruffer served up a wild pitch to Turner. Turner then popped out in foul territory for the second out of the inning. Dancer was intentionally walked to load the bases. Another errant pitch, this time with Sawyer at bat, scored Pilmore and moved Reeves and Dancer up making the score 6-3. Sawyer added two more runs to the total after stroking a line drive to center allowing Reeves and Dancer to touch home plate. Sawyer swiped second, then Peterson served up a two-bagger to left and Sawyer raced across the dish with North Central’s ninth run. After fouling off the first two offerings from Ruffer, Dylan Hutchison provided the final two runs of the day for the Eagles when he deposited a curve ball well over the center field fence. The two run blast allowed both Peterson and Hutchison to trot home with the seventh and eighth runs of the inning. Ferguson reached on a two base error, but Ruffer was able to end the onslaught by enticing Pilmore into grounding out to third.
Turner went the distance to get credit for the win. The junior lefty allowed two runs on four hits fanned seven, walked four and hit one batter with a pitch.
Parker Ruffer came back on two days rest lasting 4 1/3 innings surrendering seven runs on seven hits, whiffed nine, issued four bases on balls and plunked two batters. Chad Ruffer relieved for 2/3 of an inning and was charged with four runs on three hits and walked one. Jeremiah Garza tossed the final frame for Stryker allowing no runs or hits, no strikeouts, walked two and hit two.
Besides Hutchison’s two-run tater, Sawyer drove in two runs with his single. Peterson doubled in one run, with Pilmore and Turner each singling twice to collect one RBI. Ferguson and Reeves singled to drive a run across the plate, while Bethel added a single for the Eagles.
For the Panthers Parker Ruffer drove in both runs with his homer, and also singled. Dean Beamont and
Jacob Hancock added base hits.
With the Sectional Title North Central improves to 15-10 on the season and will play Ayersville in the District Semi-final at Ray Sumpter Field in Bryan at 6:00 pm on Wednesday, May 22nd.
Runs / Hits / Errors
North Central 11 – 10 – 0
Stryker 2 – 4 – 2[/emember_protected]