Patriots rally, beat South 5-3

Apr. 26—After getting just two hits in the first five innings Friday night, host Terre Haute North put together four straight singles in the bottom of the sixth to rally for a 5-3 win over Terre Haute South in a battle of Conference Indiana baseball contenders (and also big rivals, of course).

"Good baseball," coach Scott Lawson of North said after the game, and just because he was the winning coach doesn't mean it wasn't true. Pitching was good and defense, for the most part, even better.

North got the first two runners on in the bottom of the first, for example, but shortstop Brady Wilson of the Braves created a double play, taking a throw from Brady Weidenbenner to force one runner at second base and then, instead of throwing to first, firing to third to double off the runner who had rounded the base too far.

South got its first two runners on base in the top of the second, but North pitcher Kendall Gregg snagged a line drive and doubled a runner off first. And in the bottom of the inning, Gregg doubled and Tyler Lawson delivered a run-scoring single.

South tied the game in the third when Cam Hoke walked, stole second and scored on a two-out hit by Brady Weidenbenner and the Braves added single runs in the fourth — a double by Nathan Wright, an infield hit by Noah Fields, North shortstop Nate Millington keeping in the infield with a diving stop, but a run-scoring grounder by Matthew Ewing — and fifth when Brady Weidenbenner got his second RBI single of the game.

South pitcher Ty Stultz, who had saved a run in the third inning by racing to the backstop to get a ball that had gotten away from Fields and throwing out a runner trying to score from second, retired seven batters in order and looked to be breezing heading into the sixth.

But North's first two batters in the sixth both walked, which put Stultz over 100 pitches, and coach Jason Fields of the Braves brought in Brady Weidenbenner.

"The pitch count got up on Ty," Fields said after the game. "He wanted the ball. He's not very happy with me right now."

Stultz moved to shortstop and immediately made a good play to retire Austin Black, although both runners moved into scoring position. Then Gregg, who had hit the ball harder than any other Patriot all game long, battled through a nine-pitch at-bat before delivering a two-run single that tied the game.

"I got a hanging curveball and went opposite Field," said Gregg, who changed shirts because of an ice-water bath administered by his teammates, "after a long battle."

Lawson followed with a soft single over the first baseman's head to put runners at first and third, and Colten Moore and Cam Fennell followed with RBI singles. A throwing error put North's first batter in the top of the seventh in scoring position, but Gregg finished off the game with help from a good defensive play by second baseman Parker Higham.

"I'm very happy, very excited to win," Gregg said later. "This was my first North-South start, and I'll go on a long run tomorrow to burn off the lactic acid."

"The kids were excited about the opportunity [to play the Braves]," Lawson said after the game. "Ty Stultz did a great job on the mound, but we made some adjustments, got in their bullpen and were able to fight back and win.

"Kendall Gregg did a great job on the mound, and we made some timely defensive plays."

"North is a good ballclub," Fields said. "They're young, but they're gritty.

"This was a game [the Braves] really wanted, but we'll get back after it and play them again [next] Friday."