Tigers blank Chargers in sectional opener

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A lengthy rain delay made all the difference for the Lebanon bats in a 10-0 six inning win over North Montgomery in the Class 3A Sectional No. 25 opener at Crawfordsville on Wednesday.

With the game scoreless through three innings, rain delayed the start of fourth inning for over an hour and a half. When play resumed, Lebanon ace Logan Elsbury retired the North Montgomery hitters in order on strikes and the Tiger bats exploded with a nine-run fourth.

“It was great to see Logan (Elsbury) come back and pick up where he left off, because he was on a roll before the rain delay,” Lebanon coach Rick Cosgray said. “And as soon as the rain delay happened, we sat down for three or four minutes as a team and talked about what we were seeing at the plate offensively and what adjustments we needed to make and the kids shared some ideas and I think the things they talked about were good and once they got rolling, we hit the ball real well.”

Cannon Morton hit a pair of home runs in the inning, including a two-run shot that started the scoring spree. Brayton Bowen added a three-run long ball and Andrew Phelps and Corbin Wells each had RBI hits.

The Tigers chased North Montgomery ace Jarrod Kirsch out of the game in the fourth inning, while the Charger hitters had no answers for Lebanon’s Elsbury. The senior allowed just one hit and one walk, while striking out five in the complete game win.

“I felt like early on we hit some really hard balls that were just right at their outfielders,” North Montgomery coach Matt Voorhees said. “We could just never find the gaps, but they swung it well up and down the order. It just kind of stinks, you come off that rain delay and they immediately put up nine runs.”

The Lebanon win comes after the Tigers were upset by North Montgomery in the sectional last year and swept by the Chargers in two regular season meetings this year.

“Credit to North Montgomery for coming in and beating us last year and then to beat us twice this year in season,” Cosgray said. “We had a great couple of days of preparation for what we wanted to do in this game tonight and the kids came out and executed the game plan.”

North Montgomery’s season ends at 16-11 and they graduate seniors Jakob Kirsch, Max Verduin, Ethan Gayler, Nick Norman, and Brayden Martin.

“We have a lot of young talent coming back, but boy am I going to miss those seniors,” Voorhees said. “We just had four of them as captains and were voted by their teammates and just did a phenomenal job of leading these guys and we are just going to miss all five of them, and I think they are going to be successful in everything they choose to do, because of the effort they give out here every day. I just can’t talk enough about those guys and their families and what they’ve done for the program over the years.”

Lebanon is 13-11 on the season and will enter Thursday night’s sectional semifinal game against Frankfort/South Vermillion winners of six of their last eight contests — scoring 72 runs over the course of those eight games.

“We tell our kids to have an approach when they step in there and have an idea of what you want to accomplish and hit the ball hard and put the pressure on the defense and we are as healthy as we’ve been all year, and this is the best time of the year to start playing your best baseball, so hopefully we can roll this over to tomorrow night,” Cosgray said.

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