LEWISBURG — Arcanum shut down Tri-County North after allowing two runs in the first inning, but that was too much for the Trojans to overcome as they lost 2-1 to the Panthers Tuesday in a Cross County Conference baseball game.
Arcanum’s pitching and defense kept the Trojans in the game, but Tri-County North’s pitching and defense was just as strong as the Panthers won the CCC championship with the victory.
“We battled,” Arcanum baseball coach Randy Baker said. “We battled. They’re a really, really good team. They’re solid all over. Good pitching. Every position there they’re really solid. So that’s why they’re undefeated in the league, and we battled with them.”
After Arcanum stranded a pair of runners in the top of the first, Tri-County North scored both of its runs in the bottom half of the inning.
“I thought we hit the ball hard, too,” coach Baker said. “We hit the ball hard, just right to them. They hit the ball hard, and their balls fell in sometimes.”
Kyle Edgin led off the inning for Tri-County North with a double and advanced to third on a pickoff attempt that went into center field. A single by Austin Elmore then scored Edgin and gave North a 1-0 lead before the Panthers made an out.
Austin Ripple got the first out of the inning as he picked off Elmore at first, but he then hit Austin Hutchins, who proceeded to steal second. A single by Jordan Overcash then drove in Hutchins to give Tri-County North a 2-0 lead.
Overcash took second on the throw home on his hit and stole third, which could have led to even more damage for Arcanum. But the Trojans got out of the inning as Alex Layne caught a fly ball in right field and threw Overcash out at home to end the inning.
Arcanum couldn’t get much offense going the next few innings, but its defense kept the game close as the Trojans turned a 4-6-3 double play in the second inning, got out of a bases loaded, one-out jam in the third inning and turned another double play that originated in right field with Layne in the fourth inning.
“Alex Layne had two really nice throws, got us out of two huge jams there,” coach Baker said. “Our defense kept us in it, and our pitching kept us in the game. We just need to find a way to hit.”
Arcanum got some offense going in the fifth inning and cut into North’s lead. Layne started the rally with an infield single. After a walk to Jordan Dubbs, both runners advanced on a balk called on Tri-County North pitcher Austin Hutchins.
That put Layne on third base and allowed him to score on a sacrifice grounder by Kyle Carlisle, cutting the Panther lead to 2-1.
Arcanum stranded Dubbs on third, though, as Hutchins got the next batter to pop up for the final out of the inning.
“I wish we would have got two there,” coach Baker said. “We was close.”
After both teams failed to score in the sixth inning, Hutchins struck out the side in the top of the seventh to secure the 2-1 win and the CCC championship for Tri-County North.
Tri-County North out-hit Arcanum eight to four in the game and made no errors while the Trojans made two. The Trojans stranded five runners, and the Panthers stranded six.
Ripple was the losing pitcher for Arcanum as he went the complete game, allowing two runs on eight hits, one walk, three hit batters and four strikeouts.
“I thought Ripple wasn’t hitting his spots every pitch, but he did the job, only gave up two runs,” coach Baker said.
For North Hutchins pitched the complete game, allowing one run on four hits, three walks and eight strikeouts.
Offensively for Arcanum Layne had a hit and scored a run while Carlisle had one RBI. Collin Habel had two hits, and Kory Baker had one.
Coach Baker said he was proud of his team’s effort against the CCC champion Panthers, which will help prepare the Trojans for the start of the Ohio High School Athletic Association tournament next week.
“I’m proud of us,” coach Baker said. “I’m proud of where we’re at. I think we’re playing good ball. This is what we’re going to see in tournaments here, teams like this. This will get us ready for it.”