HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

BASEBALL: Big inning leads to Chargers win

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LINDEN — North Montgomery’s baseball bats broke open a tie game with a big sixth inning to take a 9-2 win over Bethesda Christian.

The win complemented a complete-game pitching performance by Brayden Martin, who struck out nine and walked one to run his season record to 2-0.

“Brayden did a great job,” Chargers coach Ryan Nuppnau said of the junior. “He commanded his pitches, and didn’t get flustered when he made the one bad pitch. He kept his composure, finished strong and took care of business.”

Martin needed only 86 pitches to record the win, and his defense turned in a solid game, recording only one error around a handful of good plays.

“Jacob Braun did a great job behind the plate too,” Nuppnau said of his senior catcher.

The mistake pitch the coach referred to was the one swing that drove in both Patriots runs.

BC senior Garrett Stevens hit one more than a long way out of the Chargers park, clearing the scoreboard and a couple rows of trees beyond.

Stevens, with the second-highest batting average in the state coming in, got that hit, and his teammates only got two more off of Martin, as they fall to 5-6 on the season while North moves to 11-6.

North scratched out a run in the first, as Jakob Kirsch led off with a walk, stole second and later scored on a wild pitch.

The junior repeated the story in the fifth as he was the first batter to face Patriots reliever Sam Stanczykiewicz.

Kirsch walked, stole second, reached third on an error and scored on a passed ball.

With the game tied at 2, North broke the game open with a seven-spot in the sixth.

Four walks, three hits, a hit batter and a dropped third strike were all methods of reaching base as the Chargers sent a dozen to the dish. They chased Stanczykiewicz and roughed up the next pitcher, Frank Slover.

Kirsch walked one more time, and scored one more time. He forced in a run with his walk, as did younger brother Jarrod with a walk of his own. Austin Sulc drove in two with a hit, Braun had an RBI hit and Ross Dyson drove in one more.

“We got that one in the first and fifth and then broke it open in the sixth,” Nuppnau noted. “We made (starting pitcher Garrett) Stevens go deep in the count, and that got us to their bullpen. Those at-bats make a big difference, and affects strategy. We were able to take advantage of things.”

Stevens went four innings for the Patriots, striking out 11 before giving way to the bullpen. He allowed the first-inning run. Stanczykiewicz was tagged with the loss.

The win gives the Chargers some momentum heading into three county and Sagamore Conference games in the few days ahead.

“We are at Southmont tomorrow (Saturday),” Nuppnau said, and we have Crawfordsville next week. I was really nervous at 3 p.m. today when we were stuck in the locker room on a lightning delay and we thought we might not play. We had a good  half-hour practice Thursday before the weather chased us in, but the guys were in the locker room, turning the music up and having a good time. We did the same today before we could get outside, and I really thought the guys played loose and relaxed. They found some fun in the game with their teammates. Now we need to carry this forward.”

First pitch at Southmont is scheduled for 2 p.m. The away and home with the Athenians is set for Tuesday and Wednesday.

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