By Jake Thompson
AVON — In what typically has been a battle between two sharp, well-focused teams that have played some of the best games in the county in recent seasons against each other, last night’s contest between the Avon and Brownsburg baseball teams was anything but.
The Orioles and Bulldogs combined for eight errors and with most contests that involve mistakes, the team that takes advantage usually comes out on the winning end.
Brownsburg made the most of its opportunities and handed the Orioles an 8-3 defeat as the Bulldogs advanced into the second round of the Hendricks County Tournament.
“I will chalk that up to the cold weather because these two teams will not have that many errors when we play for the HCC,” Mattingly said of the amount of errors. “These are two teams that won’t play like that for the rest of the year.”
For Avon coach Troy Drosche and his Orioles, they know what went wrong and will try to build upon the experience as they progress into the young season.
“We didn’t play our best game and I know (Brownsburg) didn’t either as there were a lot of errors in this game,” Drosche said. “The difference was they capitalized on our mistakes and we didn’t capitalize on theirs.”
Brownsburg came out swinging as leadoff hitter Mike Hartnagel started the Bulldogs out with a double. He came home a batter later on an Avon error.
In the second, a sacrifice fly by Caleb Sampen brought in Kyle Yeager and the Bulldogs led 2-0.
It was more of the same in the third as Hartnagel came in on a passed ball for a 3-0 Brownsburg lead.
The floodgates opened in the fourth as Sampen collected another RBI, bringing in Yeager again and then Garrett Isch’s two-run homer put the Bulldogs in a commanding 6-0 lead.
Avon responded as Dylan Jones’ 2 RBI triple in the bottom of the fifth scored Jake Smith and Khristian Reynolds and brought the Orioles within three.
“Dylan’s our leader and came with a big hit at that time to get back in the game,” Drosche said.
Brownsburg didn’t flinch, scoring twice more in the last innings to close out the game.
“We had a big fourth inning and then came back after they rallied,” Mattingly said. “They brought it down to three and for guys that had not played a lot of varsity baseball, we put a few runs on the board.”
Brownsburg’s Tyler Houston had a workmanlike effort from the mound, pitching a complete game.
Sanburn struck out six Bulldogs before being pulled in the fourth as Smith and Reynolds finished out the night’s pitching duties for the Orioles.
Drosche offered no excuses for the Orioles other than they simply did not execute as well as they are capable.
“It was miserable, but it was miserable for both teams,” Drosche said of the weather. “We will get better from this and there’s no doubt about it. We have a very solid team that’s playing well together. We just didn’t play well today.”
Brownsburg advances to take on Plainfield beginning at 1 p.m. at Avon today. The winner of that contest plays in the finals, which are slated to begin approximately at 4 p.m.
The Plainfield/Brownsburg winner will take on the victor of the Cascade/Tri-West matchup at 1 p.m.
“One of our first goals is to win the Hendricks County Tournament,” Mattingly said. “We had a tough draw coming out and facing an opponent that is in our conference and knows us really well.
“We wanted to come out and attack and set a tone for the weekend. With winning tournaments being a season goal, our seniors and upperclassmen were able to get the mentality that we need to come out and attack.”