By Corey B. Elliot
INDIANAPOLIS — The Brownsburg Bulldogs grabbed an early season road win at Ben Davis Monday night behind the bats of seniors Mike Hartnagel and Haden Shipman as both hit home runs, helping contribute to the Bulldogs 12-0 rout of the Giants.
The Bulldogs were hitting the ball well Monday night and the wind didn’t help the Giants' efforts in stopping them. The first two innings remained scoreless until Hartnagel hit a two-run shot to center field.
“We’ve worked all winter about being patient and going opposite field,” Brownsburg coach Eric Mattingly said. “We were lucky to get a lot of balls that our kids waited back on and our guys were able to put solid contact on good pitches.”
Trever Ferrel started on the mound for the Giants and for the first two innings he kept Ben Davis even with the Bulldogs, recording one strike out and giving up only two hits. After the three runs given up in the third, Ferrel struggled in the top of the fourth.
Brownsburg junior Tyler Houston had an RBI single that took the lead to 4-0 just before Shipman hit a three-run homer to center field. Trailing 7-0, Ferrel hit the next two batters before Ben Davis coach Aaron Kroll pulled the senior hurler.
“Obviously they were pretty good,” Kroll said. “I actually thought our starter threw pretty well. We were trying to give them a different look. 12-0 game it’s pretty clear who the better team was. There’s only so much you can do.”
Houston took the mound in the bottom of the third inning while the momentum and kept Brownsburg’s momentum rolling. He recorded five strikeouts to add to his two RBI at the plate.
As the lead grew for the Bulldogs the pressure to keep their foot down on the Giants lessened and made it possible for Mattingly to experiment with his line up.
“We’ve got conference on Wednesday and Thursday so we wanted to give a few guys some innings (and) we went into this game with those three guys planning on pitching,” Mattingly said. “We think we’ve got a lot of speed this year so we want to be aggressive on the base path. We told them be overly aggressive and luckily we had a lot of opportunities to take some extra bases.”
The Giants aren’t a team rebuilding, though. It’s still early in the season and Ben Davis is struggling to find its stride, a very typical issue to have after the third game of the season. The Giants will take this loss and try to find the positives and build off those.
“This is our third game and we haven’t seen everybody so we wanted to see guys in some different spots,” Kroll said. “We know we don’t have anybody over powering and it was the best pitching we have seen so far. Our first two games we actually hit the ball pretty well they just did a nice job mixing pitches. We just didn’t hit it. We competed but obviously we need to hit and pitch the baseball better. There’s not a whole lot to it I don’t think.”