The 2019 baseball season opened Wednesday under new head coach Sam Skinner. Coach Skinner is no stranger to Indy baseball. He served as an assistant coach for five seasons under Coach Daniel Cooke. During the 2018 season Coach Skinner, while teaching at Indy, served as the assistant coach and pitching coach for Olympic High School.
On a cold night with fans sitting out under blankets, the Patriots opened its season with solid pitching. Senior Drew Harris took the mound for Indy and pitched four full innings giving up three runs on four hits. Harris recorded five strike outs before junior Connor Randall came on in the top of the fifth. Randall closed the game for the Patriots giving up one run on one hit while striking out three as Indy took a 6-3 non-conference win over Hopewell.
In the top of the first inning Hopewell loaded the bases on a single and two walks. With two outs, Hopewell’s Seth Christmas drove in the Titans’ Tanner Gresham on an infield hit. The Patriots got out of the inning when Indy’s catcher Noah Howie picked off a Titan base runner at first base.
In the bottom half of the first Indy took the lead 2-1. Lead off hitter CJ Brown singled. Indy’s next batter Bryson Jusko doubled to right center driving Brown to third base. With two on and one out, pitcher Drew Harris picked up an RBI scoring Brown form third. Jusko, who had advanced to third base, scored Indy’s second run on a passed ball giving the Patriots the lead 2-1 after one full inning.
The Titans tied the score in the top half of the second inning. Hopewell’s Jared Johnson had reached on a walk. An attempted pick off play at first failed, and the ball rolled all the way to the first base line fence allowing Johnson to advance to third base. Hopewell’s Robby Massey doubled to left scoring Johnson to tie the score 2-2 at the end of two innings.
Indy retook the lead in the bottom of the third. Bryson Jusko led off with a single to right center. Jusko advanced to second on a passed ball, and Drew Harris sacrificed to put Jusko on third with two outs. Jusko scored his second run on another passed ball giving Indy the lead 3-2 after three full innings.
Heading into the bottom of the sixth inning with Indy leading 3-2, the Patriots added three more runs to their tally. Connor Randall led off with a walk. Coach Skinner sent Ryan Cherry in to run for his pitcher. After Owen Loker picked up a single, sophomore Wilson Lohrer came to the plate and hit a drive to left field scoring Cherry and Loker. Indy picked up its third run on a Bryson Jusko sacrifice fly to left field to score Lohrer and give Indy a 6-3 lead heading into the final inning.
The Titans could manage only one run in the top half of the seventh to make the score 6-3. With the Patriots leading, the game ended with Indy taking a 6-3 non-conference win on opening night.
After picking up his first win Coach Skinner said, “It is a thrill, and I’m thrilled for these kids and this program. It was fun, it was a great day. The guys fought, and we executed at the end. We got a real clutch single from Wilson Lohrer driving in two runs and opening the game up. It was cold but it was fun and we’ll take it.”