Biven, Bulldogs strike down Stars in sectional final

NORTH VERNON – New Albany ace Tucker Biven, dominant with sizzling velocity, powered the Bulldogs to a Class 4A sectional championship.

Biven, a University of Louisville recruit, struck out 15 and fired a two-hitter over 6 2/3 innings as New Albany conquered Bedford North Lawrence 4-0 in the final on Monday. New Albany (19-4) advanced to the regional at Jasper on Saturday.

The Stars bowed out with a 15-15 record.

BNL’s only hits came from Grant Dalton, who got a lead-off infield single in the first and a two-out double in the seventh. The Stars drew five walks but managed to put only seven balls in play. New Albany was guilty of two errors, but BNL got only two runners to third base (Dalton in the seventh and pinch runner Carter Bennett in the fourth).

Biven, who struck out seven of the first eight batters he faced, departed after throwing 122 pitches. Chase Loesch recorded the final out.

New Albany scored all its runs early, plating three in the first and the final run in the second. In the first, Garrett Jones drew a one-out walk, Biven singled to center and Andrew Clements drove in the run with a single to right. With two outs, Cody Hartlage delivered a two-run single to right.

In the second, Jones singled and Biven cracked a RBI double to right.

BNL starter Walker Ward gave up three runs in only a third of an inning. Ryker Hughes threw 4 2/3 in relief and allowed only one run while striking out seven. Biven and Jones had two hits each as New Albany avenged a regular-season loss (5-4 on May 2) to the Stars.