Four-run first inning enough to lift Indy over Franklin
By Marcus Stone, Sports Editor
Independence opened their District 11-AAA baseball schedule in victorious fashion Monday, defeating Franklin 4-1 in Thompson’s Station.
The Eagles scored all four runs in the bottom of the first inning and fought through jams while in the field to hold onto the win against the reigning 11-AAA tournament champions.
Catcher Ethan Nieman drove in the first runs of the game on a two-out double to center field, plating Matthew May and Timothy Wright. Nieman scored seven pitches later as Ben Lee hit a towering home run over the right-center field fence.
Indy coach Bill Moore was not surprised by the long ball.
“It’s a little bit shorter that way and the wind was blowing out,” he said. “I knew when he got it up it had a really good chance of getting out.”
Lee, a 6-foot-2 junior, was 3-for-3 on the night with two singles and the home run.
Franklin had runners in scoring position multiple times throughout the game but could not capitalize as Eagles’ pitcher Brandon Guske fought through jams.
The Rebels’ first three batters of the night got on base before Guske struck out the next three, eliminating the threat.
Guske found himself in the same situation in the third before striking Nick Hutchins and R.J. Bell. Franklin did score a run in the frame as Austin McPeek crossed home plate after Graham Warren got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Despite being a little amped up and not having his best stuff according to Moore, Guske was solid when his team most needed.
“Really good job by him,” Moore said. “He just focused and made pitches and he didn’t get rattled.”
Guske gave up only two hits while striking out five, walking one, and hitting four Franklin batters through six innings. Luke Jones relieved Guske in the top of the seventh to earn the save.
The series continues Tuesday at Franklin’s Cheek Park with a 6:30 p.m. first pitch.
Posted on: 3/18/2013