North makes short work of host team at baseball sectional

May 27—Terre Haute did itself a favor that also benefited the Class 4A Decatur Central Sectional in high school baseball Monday afternoon.

Tribune-Star readers may be beneficiaries as well, although that would be determined later in the day.

Playing the 10 a.m. opener of the sectional at 2 p.m. Saturday at Plainfield — to be clear, not the location of Decatur Central — coach Scott Lawson's Patriots defeated Decatur Central 12-2 in less than five innings, the two unplayed frames giving the truncated and very much delayed schedule a little bit of a break. The Patriots advanced to the championship game later that night against the winner of Saturday's game between Plainfield — the home team but not the host team — and Avon.

"About as well as we've played all year," Lawson said after the "game. "Hopefully [the Patriots] are hungry for another one."

"We've been building up to this as a team all year," said sophomore shortstop Nate Millington. "Everybody's doing their jobs and I feel like we're gonna carry on."

North had beaten Decatur Central 3-0 early in April at North, but thoughts of another shutout went out the window after three batters, when shortstop Zach Losito homered.

The Patriots got the first two batters to second and third with nobody out on hits by Millington and Brayden Dean and a stolen base, but the next three batters stranded the two of them in scoring position. That was a worrisome omen, some Patriot fans — and Lawson — felt. Millington disagreed.

"As soon we started the game with two back-to-back hits, the energy was good and everybody got excited," he said.

North left two runners on base in each of the next two innings but also took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second on a two-run double by Millington — who, by the way, is 7 for 9 after two sectional games.

Losito came to bat for the second time in the top of the fourth and this time he doubled, stole third and came home on a grounder to tie the game 2-2. But that was the Hawks' last hope, as it turned out.

Parker Higham, the ninth hitter in the Patriot batting order, started the bottom of the fourth inning with an infield hit and added a double later in the inning. North scored eight runs, with Briar Goda breaking the tie with a two-run single and Cam Fennell contributing a two-run double.

When Kendall Gregg pitched out of a slight jam in the top of the fifth — he finished with a three-hitter and left quite a few pitches and innings available if needed later in the day — the North fans were fairly confident his day was over. A leadoff triple by Dean, an RBI single by Austin Black and a walkoff double by Colten Moore that invoked the 10-run rule wrapped things up.

"We've done that [left runners on base] this year," Lawson said after the game, "but today was a different day. Up and down the lineup we got the ball in play. A good team win."

DECATUR CENTRAL (AB-R-H-RBI) — Seib cf 2-0-0-0, Fidler 3b 3-0-0-0, Losito ss 2-2-2-1, Yates p-1b 2-0-0-0, G.Smith c 2-0-0-1, Markus dh-p 2-0-1-0, J.Smith lf 0-0-0-0, Garrison rf-lf 2-0-0-0, B.Smith 1b-rf 1-0-0-0, Polston 2b 2-0-0-0. Totals 18-2-2-2.

TERRE HAUTE NORTH (AB-R-H-RBI) — N.Millington ss 4-1-3-2, Dean lf 4-1-3-0, Goda cf 4-1-1-2, Black c 4-2-3-2, Gregg p 2-1-1-0, Moore rf 3-0-1-2, Lawson 1b 2-2-2-0, Fennell 3b 2-2-1-2, Higham 2b 3-2-2-1. Totals 28-12-17-11.

Decatur Central 100 10 — 2

Terre Haute North 020 82 — 12

One out when 10-run rule achieved.

LOB — DC 3, THN 8. 2B — Markus, N.Millington, Losito, Fennell, Higham, Moore. 3B — Dean. HR — Losito. SB — Dean, Losito, Goda. CS — Black. SF — Moore.

Decatur Central IP H R ER BB SO

Yates (L) 3.1 11 7 7 1 3

Markus 1 6 5 5 1 1

Terre Haute North IP H R ER BB SO

Gregg (W) 5 3 2 2 1 7

HBP — by Yates (Fennell), by Yates (Gregg), by Gregg (Seib). WP — Yates, Markus 3. T — 1:33.

Next — Terre Haute North advanced with a 14-4 record while Decatur Central finished 11-17.