NEW ALBANY —
The New Albany baseball team improved to 4-0 with wins over South Dearborn and defending Class 4A state champion Fort Wayne Carroll on Saturday at the New Albany Little League Park.
The ultra-efficient Bulldogs downed Carroll, 9-4, in the first game of the double-header before chasing off South Dearborn, 11-1. New Albany needed just 17 hits to rack up 20 runs between the two contests.
“We put a lot of runs up on the board,” New Albany coach Chris McIntyre said. “I thought we played pretty good, defensively. The pitcher struggled a little bit with control the second game, but we can’t be too displeased with the way we played overall.”
NEW ALBANY 11, SOUTH DEARBORN 1
New Albany put South Dearborn behind early with a three-run first, scored five more in the third and put the game away with three more in the fifth to invoke the 10-run rule.
Garrett Sherrill got the win with three innings of work. Although his velocity was there, Sherrill was sometimes erratic and had to pitch out of jams. Sherrell’s only run surrendered came in the second inning, when Dearborn’s A.J. Hummel was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Trent Lurhson took a 2-2 pitch up the middle for a single to score the visitors’ only run.
After that, Sherrell struck out the next two batters, but then put K.J. Probst on base on four straight balls. Sherrell walked the bases loaded before striking out Bryce Curry to put an end to the threat.
“I think he just lacks a bit of confidence,” McIntyre said. “He has good stuff, but it’s just getting a little more consistent. He goes some stretches where he’s as good a pitcher as we have. And then he just loses it for an inning or two, and then he gets it back again. So we’ve just got to get him a little more consistent and with more innings, that will come.”
The New Albany offense got to work early on. Tucker Marcum led off the first inning with a free base after getting plunked by a Ian Rutzel pitch, and Logan Striegel reached base on a slow roller down the third-base line that sent Marcum to second. Jordan Striegel scored the game’s first run with a grounder to the left side that the Dearborn shortstop couldn’t get to. Back-to-back sacrifice flies by Eric Burnett and Sherrell made it 3-0 after one.
The floodgates opened for the Bulldogs in the home fifith. After Burnett singled to lead off, Sherrell brought him home with a double to left. Sherrell advanced to third on a wild pitch and came home on a double by Clayton Poff.
The Bulldogs weren’t done. A walk by Cameron Mullins and a single by Shane Robison juiced the bases, and Marcum brought home a run with a single to shallow right. Logan Striegel walked home a run, which chased Rutzel in favor of relief pitcher A.J. Hummel. A Jordan Striegel fielder’s choice brought Robison home before the inning was done.
“We’re still not crushing the ball, but we had some timely hits,” McIntyre said. “Our guys did a good job of moving into scoring position, of getting some sacrifice flies and just getting the ball in play and getting runs in.
“Hitting is always the last thing that really comes. Pitching’s always going to be a little bit ahead of the hitting. It takes a lot of seeing a lot of pitches and a lot of at-bats until you can get comfortable at the plate.”
NEW ALBANY 9, FW CARROLL 4
New Albany put up four runs in both the third and fourth innings to down Fort Wayne Carroll in the first game of the double-header, 9-4.
“Carroll is not only a good team, but they do things right. They just play baseball,” McIntyre said. “They don’t any talking. They just really get after it and compete, and I just enjoy playing teams like that. It shows our guys that if you just mind your business and do what you’re supposed to do, you continue to get better as the year goes along, you can get there also. It’s a good confidence builder, but I think our guys — confidence is not something that our guys really lack.”
The Bulldogs scored all nine of their runs on just nine hits, and needed just one hit in the four-run fourth inning, thanks to two Charger fielding errors.
Josh Rogers got the win in his first decision of the year, going five innings, allowing one run and striking out five. Rogers struck out the side in the fifth inning.
Jordan Striegel struggled a bit in two innings of relief, allowing three Carroll runs.
Offensively, Tanner Marcum and Jordan Striegel scored two runs apiece. Marcum reached base in all four of his plate appearances, getting struck by three Charger pitches. Marcum was hit by a total of five pitches on the day.
“It’s a freak thing. He doesn’t necessarily crowd the plate that much,” McIntyre said. “Sometimes with high school kids, you don’t see as many lefties, and sometimes you see high school pitchers struggle with left-handed hitters. But he hangs in there. He doesn’t bail out. He does enough to make an attempt to get out of the way, but certainly you like seeing kids that will hang in there and get a free base.”
Jordan Striegel had a double and an RBI in the victory.
Eric Burnett went 2-for-4 at the plate, including a double and a run scored.
New Albany travels to Southern on Tuesday.
S. DEARBORN 010 00— 1 2 0
NEW ALBANY 305 03—11 8 1
W — Sherrell (1-0). L — Rutzel (0-1). 2B — Sherrell (N), Poff (N).
Records — South Dearborn 0-2, New Albany 4-0.
FW CARROLL 100 002 1—4 5 2
NEW ALBANY 004 401 X—9 9 0
W — Rogers (1-0). L — Goshen (0-1). 2B — J. Striegel (N), Burnett (N).
Records — FW Carroll 1-1, New Albany 3-0.