By Justin Sokeland
BEDFORD – After struggling to score runs in recent quiet outings, Bedford North Lawrence finally found its offensive voice. The Stars went from a whisper to a shout. It was a welcome sound.
The Stars erupted for their most runs in two-plus years, pounding Northview 15-1 in the consolation game of the Orval Huffman Tournament on Saturday afternoon. BNL dropped a heartbreaker in the opener, falling to Class 3A power SIlver Creek 5-3 in an 11-inning marathon.
Silver Creek 5, BNL 3 (11 innings) – The Dragons rallied with a run in the top of the seventh, then scored twice in the 11th to vanquish the Stars.
Silver Creek scored in the first when Jace Burton walked, went to third on Tyler Bach’s single to right, and scored on Jonny Stone’s throwing error.
BNL took a 2-1 lead in the fourth. With one out, Kline Woodward walked, and back-to-back batters reached on infield grounders. Nathan Pemberton drove in the first run with a ground out, and Cade Mungle came through with a two-out RBI single.
The Dragons pulled even in the fifth when Bach was hit by a pitch, went to second on a Mungle error and third on a wild pitch, then scored on Brady Weitzel’s sacrifice fly. BNL came up with a clutch run in the sixth as Stone singled, pinch runner Maddox Ray took second on a wild pitch, and Pemberton delivered a two-out RBI single.
But that lead didn’t hold up. Silver Creek, with two outs, drew even again when Nate Davidson walked, Weitzel reached on a fielder’s choice, and Jack Murphy delivered a RBI single to center.
In the 11th, Silver Creek finally broke the deadlock against BNL reliever Cristos McCormick. Bach reached on an error, Jackson Lewis cranked a double to center, and Weitzel reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases. Murphy singled in the go-ahead run, and Greyson Durrick dropped a squeeze bunt for the insurance run.
Gates had two hits for the Stars. Starting pitcher Walker Ward gave up one run in 3 2/3 innings, Gates struck out four in 2 2/3 innings in relief. SIlver Creek’s Dane DeWeese struck out four and allowed only one hit in five relief innings.
BNL’s defense turned four double plays.
“We battled and gutted it out,” BNL coach Jeff Callahan said. “We threw guys out at the plate, we were able to compete, but we didn’t get it done. Our pitchers pitched well, but we couldn’t get hits to win the game. They made some plays later and got the key hits.”
BNL 15, Northview 1 – Gates highlighted the offensive outburst, going 4-for-4 with 4 RBIs, while Stone had three hits and drove in a pair, powering the Stars to their biggest scoring production of the season.
BNL exploded for seven runs in the first, sending 11 batters to the plate and cranking out five extra-base hits. Gates had a lead-off triple and a double during his second appearance of the frame, while Woodward, Pemberton and Ray also connected for doubles. The Stars scored more runs in that inning than their three previous games combined.
They kept up the assault with seven more in the fourth (all with two outs) to trigger the mercy rule. Pemberton and Gates had RBI doubles while Woodward and Stone added run-scoring singles during that burst.
McCormick earned the win on the mound, working 3 1/3 innings in relief and scattering four hits. The Knights (7-16) got a RBI single by Jackson Farris in the fourth.
“Hopefully that will roll over into next week,” Callahan said. “We pitched well in the first game. It was one of those days where things didn’t go our way and the first one got away from us. It was nice to come back and win the second game.”
Northview, which has competed in every Huffman tournament since its inception (winning the first two in 2016-17) also lost its opening game of the event, falling to Class 4A No.8 Mt. Vernon (Fortville) by a 12-4 count.
Silver Creek (20-7) won the Huffman title with a 10-0 victory over the Marauders (20-7) as Carter Soliday threw a four-hit shutout. The Dragons won the crown for the second time (2021) in the event’s six-year history. The tournament, named for the former BNL coach and Hall of Famer, was rained out twice (2017 and 2022) and cancelled by the virus shutdown (2020).
BNL (16-10) will conclude the regular season on Monday, celebrating Senior Day and hosting Loogootee.