Bulls top Indy after rocky first inning

indy's third baseman Brandon Moser throws out base runner at first. (Ron Morris)
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Coach Skinner making a pitching change. (Ron Morris)
Indy’s catcher Bryson Jusko unsuccessfully tries to tag out Bulls Ick Cirino. (Ron Morris)

Thursday’s night home game against the Hickory Ridge Ragin’ Bulls saw Indy jump out to a two run lead before the Bulls settled down and took the conference win 8-5.

The Bulls started sophomore Adam Wilkerson who began the game by walking Indy’s lead off hitter CJ Brown.  Wilkerson added another base runner by hitting Noah Howie with a pitch.  With two on, Wilkerson loaded the bases when he walked Raja Milton.  Tyson Clawson stepped to the plate and received a free pass scoring CJ Brown from third base.  Indy’s third baseman Brandon Moser also received a free pass scoring Noah Howie to make the score 2-0 Indy.

After getting out of the first inning, Wilkerson settled down and pitched five full innings of no-hit baseball.  He recorded eight strike outs and walked six Indy batters.  After five full innings, Wilkerson’s pitch count was at 95 which was ten below the 105 pitch limit.  Hickory Ridge coach Branden Knapp called on senior Noah Phelps to take the mound.

Phelps pitched the final two innings for the Bulls giving up three runs on four hits.  He walked three and struck out three as the Bulls took the conference win and stayed undefeated in the SW4A Conference.In the top of the third inning, the Bulls got on the scoreboard after Joey Tuders reached on an infield hit.  Tuders scored on a Bryson Taylor single to left field to make the score 2-1 Indy.

The Bulls’ second run came in the fourth inning.  Jacob Bishop doubled to right field.  Joey Tuders came to the plate and scored Bishop on a single to center field to tie the score 2-2.

In the top of the fifth inning, Hickory Ridge broke the game open by adding four runs to its tally.  The Bulls’ lead off hitter Caleb Topper singled to center followed by an Adam Wilkerson single to center.  With two on and no outs, Bryson Taylor loaded the bases with an infield hit.  After the Bulls scored Topper and Wilkerson, and with Taylor on third, Coach Knapp called for the squeeze play which scored Taylor.  Ick Cirino picked up the Bulls’ fourth run which gave them a 6-2 lead at the end of five full innings.  In the bottom half of the sixth inning, the Patriots’ Raja Milton picked up Indy’s first hit by beating out a ball hit deep behind third base.  Tyson Clawson’s double to right field scored Milton to make the score 6-3.

In the top of the seventh inning, the Bulls added two unearned runs.  Nolan DeVos scored after picking up a walk.  Jacob Bishop reached after being hit by a pitch and scored on a Joey Tuders’ single to deep left field making the score 8-3 Hickory Ridge.

In the bottom half of the seventh the game became a bit testy.  Indy’s CJ Brown led off with a walk and stole second.  Bryson Jusko singled and drove in Brown to make the score 8-4.  After Indy hit into a double play, Raja Milton drew a walk and went to third on a passed ball.  Drew Harris came to the plate and hit a single.  As Milton started home, the Bulls’ catcher was blocking the plate, and Milton ran into the catcher knocking him down and scoring Indy’s fifth run.

After questioning the play,  the home plate umpire ruled that Milton did not interfere with the catcher.  He instead ruled that the catcher was blocking the plate without having the ball and counted Milton’s run.

Tyson Clawson was Indy’s next hitter.  After Clawson was hit by a pitch, a lot of noise came from both dugouts which caused the home plate umpire to call both coaches to the field for a conference.  The coaches calmed down their respective benches and the game continued.

The game ended when Indy Brandon Moser went down on strikes, and the Ragin’ Bulls took the conference win 8-5.

Hickory Ridge   001  140  2  –  8

Independence   200  001  2  –  5

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