The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Sports

April 11, 2012

NV survives windy day

CAYUGA, Ind. — Every ball hit into the air during Tuesday’s baseball game between Seeger and North Vermillion was an adventure.

A few were blown over the fence and a few were blown away from fielders as Tuesday’s Wabash River Conference tilt was played in a consistent wind out of west, northwest.

But the final ball hit into the air landed safely into the glove of a sliding Wade Harrison giving North Vermillion an 6-4 win over Seeger in a Wabash River Conference contest.

“We had to make some defensive shifts after that first inning,’’ North Vermillion coach Nate O’Neall said. “The way the wind was blowing, we had to move both our left and center fielders.

“Wade was basically playing deep right-center.’’

So when Seeger’s Caleb Orahood lifted a short fly ball to right-center, Harrison was in a perfect position to make the catch and preserve the victory as the Patriots had loaded the bases with two outs.

“We didn’t make the plays and they did,’’ Seeger coach Nate Davis said. “That was the difference.’’

North Vermillion, which improved 4-4 overall and 3-1 in the WRC, took a 6-4 lead with two runs in the sixth when a fly ball from Jordan West was dropped in right-center.

“We didn’t make a lot of plays out there and we have no excuse,’’ Davis said. “At our place (in West Lebanon, Ind.) it’s also very windy and we work on that day after day.’’

The Falcons loaded the bases for West with a pair of two-out singles by Devon Sams and Davin Craft, followed by a walk to Kody Zumwalt.

According to O’Neall, the late two-out rally is becoming a trademark of this group.

“This team has been down late and we’ve battled back a lot,’’ he said. “These kids thought they had it all the way.’’

And while the late rally is something that has happened a lot for North Vermillion, Davis also saw something in Tuesday’s game that he has seen a lot from Seeger, which falls to 2-2 overall and 0-1 in the WRC.

“We left nine guys on base,’’ said Davis, as the Patriots left the bases loaded in both the sixth and seventh innings. “It’s about getting runners on base and pushing them across the plate.

“When you leave nine guys on base, you are not going to win many ball games.’’

Davis said the difference was obvious to see.

“North Vermillion battled and battled at the plate,’’ he said. “We had an inning where we saw just three pitches.

“That’s not caring enough about every single at-bat.’’

West earned his first save by getting the final two outs, while Tony Sowers, who came on in relief for James Fortner, got his first high school victory. And, it was the first game as a pitcher for Sowers.

“We just started throwing him on Monday,’’ O’Neall said. “We wanted to pitch Jordan (West) but he was having some back problems, probably because of the cold conditions.

“But, at the end, his team needed him and Jordan stepped up to finish the game out.’’

Dakota Ware had three hits for Seeger with a triple, a double and a single, while Taylor Rademacher had a two-run homer in first and Zach Stitt drove home two with a single in the fourth.

Austin Dickerson led the North Vermillion attack with two hits, a two-run double in the first and an RBI-single in the third.

Both teams will complete their two-game series tonight with a 4:30 p.m. contest at Seeger.

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