Columbus North Captures Sectional 14 Championship

By Deryck Ramey

PBR Indiana

Monday night's Class 4A Sectional 14 Championship brought a much anticipated match up between two high level pitchers in the state of Indiana. Bloomington South, acting as the home team for the final contest, brought senior ace Gage Rogers to the mound for the third time in as many games. Rogers picked up a complete game victory over Shelbyville in the opening round and tallied a save in an inning of work on Friday night against Columbus East. Columbus North sent sophomore Collin Lollar to the bump forcing a faceoff between two pitchers with premium velocity.  

It was Columbus North, however, on the strength of their young pitcher who overcame a night of impressive pitching by both squads. Exacting revenge from the Panthers who knocked them out in the first game of last year's tournament, Columbus North got a few key hits and kept South hitters off base for most of the evening.  

Through four innings both Lollar and Rogers had given up just three hits. Lollar, an impressive 2016 RHP who sat 87-89 for most of the night, faced the minimum 12 batters through these four frames. Rogers and Lollar also combined for seven strikeouts and no runs were allowed to reach the plate. 

It was Columbus North who lit up the board first in the top of the fifth. Hunter Liggett singled on a liner to left and advanced to third on a double by Lollar to the left-center gap. Devin Mann came to the plate with just an out, but was given a free pass to load the bases. After attempting and failing on two squeeze attempts, young standout Canaan Baum dropped a single into left for an RBI and the game's first run. Jon Cox also came around to score as Baum was thrown out attempting to reach second. Mann later scored on a passed ball. Columbus North 3 Bloomington South 0.  

The three run advantage looked to be huge as Lollar was dealing, but Bloomington South jumped right back into the game in the bottom of the fifth. Singles by Isaac Barrow and Chase Daab gave the Panthers runners on 1st and 3rd with two outs. Jordan Parrott then hit a grounder to short which Mann decided to take to the bag for the last out, but was unable to reach the base in time. Cole McNeely then doubled scoring Daab and moving Parrott to third. A single to center by Rex McHaley brought the tying run home. McNeely was thrown out at third to end the inning. 

Two outs in the top of the sixth brought the final runs of the game home for Columbus North. Brice McDaniel was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a single by Wil Dorenbusch. A passed ball put both runners in scoring position. With two outs recorded Liggett came up big again for the Bulldogs plating both Dorenbusch and McDaniel.  

Columbus North advances to face Castle in the Evansville Reitz Regional on June 7th. 

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