Carmel Wins the Battle of the Oar

By Ben Grossberg
PBR Indiana

NOBLESVILLE – A dropped third strike proved to be costly in the Battle for the Oar between Noblesville and Carmel on Saturday Night. A tight game throughout, it appeared as thought it was going to be an offensive slug fest after the first two innings, but both teams pitchers settled down.

The Greyhound offense got started quickly in the first inning, as the first three batters each had hits. Thomas Baldwin led off the inning with a double and David Layman followed that with a two run homerun over the left field fence. Tony Giannini singled after that, but the Millers starter, Zack St. Pierre, buckled down allowing just four hits over the next four innings.

Noblesville responded in the bottom of the first putting up a two spot of their own. Andrew Wilson led off the inning with a single, and Brian McLean followed with double. Vinnie Essig would later come up with the bases loaded and hit a hard one hopper at the second baseman that went into left field allowing Wilson and McLean to both score on the error.

In the second two, two out walks loaded the bases for the Millers cleanup hitter Dax McLochlin. McLochlin lined a ball into right field bringing in two runs, giving Noblesville a 4-2 advantage.

After the second inning the pitching for both teams settled down. Carmel’s Connor Cunningham came on in relief in the fourth inning, throwing three innings allowing no hits, and striking out six, including five in a row.

In the sixth Carmel’s offense was finally able to get to St. Pierre again. With one out Garrett Pferrer drew a walk and Connor McGeehan doubled down the left field line to put runners on second and third with one out. Riley Smith then put a ball into right center field that was caught by Andrew Wilson.  Wilson threw home to stop the run, but the ball hit off of Pferrer and bounced into the Carmel dugout, allowing McGeehan to also score from second, tying the game at four.

In the top of the seventh Tyler Keith came up to pinch hit, and with two strikes swung at a ball in the dirt. The ball ended up at backstop and Keith was able to reach first safely.  Keith eventually advanced to second on a passed ball. With another ball in the dirt, Keith attempted to steal third and the throw bounced into shallow left field allowing Keith to score, giving the Greyhounds a 5-4 lead.

Ryan Campbell came on for the save in the bottom of the seventh. A one out single by St. Pierre was all the Noblesville could manage and Campbell got a groundball to third to end the game, giving Carmel the 5-4 victory.