By Ryan Palencer
AVON — Behind some timely offense and a solid pitching performance by Alex Nelson, the Ben Davis baseball team defeated Perry Meridian in its sectional 11 opener Thursday night.
“I thought that our guys had great energy,” Ben Davis coach Aaron Kroll said. “We made a few errors, but we clamped down in big spots and made up for those errors. (Perry Meridian’s Jordan) Tackett is one heck of a pitcher.
“It was the type of game that we needed. We knew that it was going to be a low scoring game. I thought that we stepped up and made some big plays in big spots. We were able to scratch just enough to get by.”
The Giants jumped on top early, as they scored two in the top of the first. Cedric Vaughn walked and later scored on a fielder’s choice by Cody Turpen. Arin Welsh came home on a wild pitch.
“We got off to a good start, which is huge,” Kroll said. “Putting up two (runs), we knew that runs were going to be really hard to come by against (Tackett). He’s probably one of the best pitchers that we have seen all year and one of the best in the state, so it is big to push across a couple.”
In the bottom of the frame, Ben Davis pitcher Alex Nelson got into some quick trouble with a hit and an error. After a strikeout, the bases were loaded on another error. However, two flyouts later, the Giants were out of the jam.
Ben Davis was not as fortunate in the bottom of the second. Garrett Beldon led off with a single and later came around to cross the plate on a single by Mitchell Garrity.
The Falcons struck again in the third, on a RBI double by Max Heyob.
Ben Davis had another scoring opportunity in the fourth, as Nelson was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame, before Trevor Ferrell walked. They both advanced on a wild pitch, but were stranded in scoring position.
Perry Meridian returned the favor, leaving the bases loaded in the bottom of the frame.
Turpen led off the top of the sixth with a double and was advanced to third on a bunt by Jacob DeWeese. Turpen then scored on a botched squeeze, as the Falcon catcher was unable to come up with the tag.
Nelson was tremendous for Ben Davis, allowing a pair of runs, while spreading out seven hits, and striking out four.
“If (Nelson) continues to pound the strike zone and we make plays behind him, then we have a chance to stay in games,” Kroll said. “We have to win games by low scoring. That is how we are and how we have to win games. In order to do that, our pitcher has to be in the strike zone and he was phenomenal.”
The Giants move on to battle sectional host Avon following the 10 a.m. game between Brownsburg and Southport on Monday.