No.9 Huskies get their steps in as Stars settle for one win in split doubleheader

BNL’s Kline Woodward connects for a hit during Saturday’s clash with No.9 Evansville North. Woodward had three hits, but the Stars suffered a 15-6 loss to the Huskies after topping Franklin 7-2 in the opening game.

By Justin Sokeland

BEDFORD – Counting steps is trendy way to track fitness and exercise. Evansville North hitters definitely got their steps in during the nightcap game of a split doubleheader with Bedford North Lawrence. The Huskies did a whole lot of walking.

North, ranked No.9 in the Class 4A preseason poll, took advantage of 15 walks while topping the Stars 15-6 on Saturday night, completing their sweep of the two-game, four-team event. BNL (2-1) opened the day with a 7-2 win over Franklin, while the Huskies (4-0) blasted Jennings County in their first contest.

The Huskies kept the scoreboard moving against BNL, scoring six runs in the fourth to break away after BNL was in position to take control with a bases-loaded, no-out threat in the previous inning. That rally was wasted, and North responded with its outburst. Lesson learned? Opportunities against a quality opponent can’t be squandered, and 15 extra base runners is too much of a head start to overcome.

“We had a lot of good baseball, and few instances of not so good,” BNL coach Jeff Callahan said after the Stars endured three games in 24 hours on the opening weekend of the regular season. “But there are a lot more positives than negatives.”

BNL 7, Franklin 2: In the opener, the Stars exploded for four runs in the fourth to take control. Ryker Hughes started the rally with a single, Carter Bennett walked, and Tate Tanksley was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Cade Mungle and Cal Gates stroked two-run singles to get BNL on the board.

BNL added a run in the fifth (singles by Bennett, Walker Ward and Mungle) and two more in the sixth (Maddox Ray walk and Hughes two-run home run to left).

BNL’s Cal Gates had two hits and two RBIs against Franklin.

Mungle had two hits and 3 RBIs, while Hughes and Gates were both 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs as BNL collected 10 hits. Kline Woodward struck out 7 in 4 1/3 innings on the mound as the Grizzly Cubs lost their season opener.

“We put all three phases together,” Callahan said. “We pitched well, played pretty good defense and got some key hits. That’s what baseball comes down to against good teams. Get outs on time and get the key hits.”

Evansville North 15, BNL 6: The Huskies scored three in the first, with Brayden Huebner cracking a two-run double, but BNL answered with three in the bottom of the frame as Woodward and Bennett banged out RBI singles. North struck again in the second when Bradley Yunker launched a two-run home run to deep right.

The key moments came in the BNL third, when the Stars jammed the bases via an error, a walk and a hit batter. North relief pitcher Colin Wolfe then struck out back-to-back batters before getting a ground out to end the threat. Then in the fourth, with two outs, four consecutive walks and Gabe Wilke’s three-run double created a big gap.

“We walked a lot, and we were constantly behind hitters,” Callahan said. “I don’t know if we were trying to be too fine, because they are such a good hitting team, it was just one of those nights that happen. They put pressure on you offensively, because up and down the order they can hit it. They’re aggressive. That’s a good team.

“Answering with three runs in the bottom of the first was a real bright spot. Then getting it to 6-4, having the bases loaded with nobody out, we had a chance. After that, it kind of spun away from us.”

Wilke had two hits and 4 RBIs for North. Woodward had three hits and plated two runs for the Stars.

In the other game, Franklin clipped Jennings County 10-8.

The Stars will host Nazareth Academy (from Illinois), pending the weather forecast before the Roadrunners make the trip from Chicago, on Monday.

Evansville North’s Bradley Yunker celebrates after ripping a two-run homer against the Stars.