By Corey B Elliot
SPEEDWAY — The Brownsburg Bulldogs baseball team took care of business Saturday afternoon with a 12-4 victory over the Speedway Sparkplugs.
The Sparkplugs were playing the back end of a dual-school doubleheader with the first game resulting in a loss against Tri-West.
When the Bulldogs arrived for the second game, senior shortstop Mike Hartnagel hit two two-run home runs that led Brownsburg to victory.
“Mike’s hitting the ball pretty well right now,” Brownsburg coach Eric Mattingly said. “As a leadoff guy he puts a lot of pressure on pitchers to do different things with him. And when he gets on the bases he can turn a single into a triple so he’s had a heck of a last week and today really capped that off.”
The first inning started with an early Bulldogs lead as Brownsburg (8-5) took a 3-0 advantage sparked by Hartnagel’s leadoff single that eventually resulted in the game’s first run.
But Speedway (8-3)didn’t go done without a fight.
The Sparkplugs had senior Austin Gosnell in scoring position on third off a Nicholas McCormick ground out to first in the bottom of the first frame. But junior Matthew Turk left Gosnell stranded after striking out.
On the ensuing at-bat for the Bulldogs, Hartnagel hit a two-run homer over the left centerfield wall.
While the day was looking up for the Bulldogs, the frustrations mounted for the Sparkplugs. The Bulldogs put up five more runs by the top of the fourth inning, making it 8-1 over a Speedway team that just couldn’t find it’s groove.
“We talk a lot about how character is defined on how you react in moments of adversity and today would be an adverse moment,” Speedway coach Marcus McCormick said. “How we bounce back will define us as a baseball team. We’ve got to put this game away and look forward to conference games ahead of us. Baseball is a long season.”
Hartnagel went 4 for 4 on the day with two home runs, three RBI and a stolen base.
“It’s a great feeling when you’re rounding the bases after nice hits like that but once we get on the bus it’s time to focus on the next game,” Hartnagel said. “I give a lot of credit to coach (Greg) Horn. He taught us a lot in the offseason, helping me stay back and get my timing down. I just focus on hitting line drives and try not to think ‘hit home runs.’”