By JAMES COSTELLO

For the Pharos-Tribune

Logansport hitting was sparse in game one, and it struggled in the last three frames of the nightcap. Combined with some game-two pitching woes, the Berries were forced to split victories with their North Central Conference rival, the Muncie Central Bearcats in the doubleheader Saturday at Jim Turner Field.

The Berries had been hoping for a clean sweep at home to give them a shot at the NCC title, and Saturday’s results brought the Berries record to 13-11, with a 7-4 conference record. In order for the Berries to place second in the conference, they will now have to beat formidable Anderson on Tuesday and Wednesday. If they hope to share a piece of the NCC crown, then both Kokomo (7-3 NCC) and Huntington North (8-3 NCC) will need to drop at least one of their remaining games.

“Somebody is going to have to help us because we certainly didn’t do our part here today,” said Logansport coach Jim Turner.

Logansport won its first game by a comfortable 6-3 margin, as junior Kory Rombold gave up only three hits for three total runs, in addition to batting smart for two walks and a hit. Once on base, Rombold executed some heads-up base running to cross the plate on all three reaches.

The rest of the Berries displayed aggressive running as well to maximize their opportunities and score six runs on only four total hits, one on an RBI single by Anthony Farrell in the fourth frame. Two more came from catcher Grant McCloskey, including a nice rip along the left field line for a stand-up double in the sixth that scored pinch runner Brooks Ledger.

McCloskey, Ross Tierney, and Jacob Darlage each recorded a steal for the game, and several runners were able to score on wild pitches throughout.

Logansport’s batting warmed up in game two against Muncie Central’s Danny Burton, swatting six of its total 14 hits in the top of the first inning before a textbook double-play ended the side for the Berries. Kyle Corcoran recorded one of his two hits in the frame and showed some hustle on the play, reaching safely on an infield hit to third base that scored the equally fleet-footed Tierney.

Logansport’s Brandon Shively struggled on the mound in game two, and when Burton smacked a stand-up double to even the score at 3-all in the third frame, Tierney was subbed in for him.

Tierney started his pitching performance with some success, throwing some nice off-speed balls that momentarily stifled the Bearcats’ bats. Tierney gave up a walk and no hits in two innings to maintain a Logansport lead that stood at 4-3 before a disastrous fifth inning.

Jason Kubick, who came in for Burton in the top of the inning, shut the Berries down at the plate. They went down in order in the inning, and their only sixth-inning hit was a bunt by Steven Woodruff. The junior was the most prolific batter for Logansport in the nightcap along with Sam Starbuck, who also had three hits for the game.

“Steven Woodruff really had a good day,” said Turner. “He’s been working at it, and it’s good to see him back because he can be a real catalyst for us.”

On the other side of the plate, the Bearcats zeroed in on Tierney, as Burton led off with a single and Kevin Woodfin crushed a centerfield home run off the scoreboard to drive in two runs. Tierney and company stayed calm and prevented more hemorrhaging, but Muncie Central had taken a 5-4 lead over Logansport for the first time in the game.

Besides Woodruff’s bunt, Logansport’s batting was negligent in the sixth inning, and the Berries still faced a deficit as they took the field. Tierney hit the lead-off batter to put a runner on and Burton advanced the runner to second with his second hit of the game. Woodfin returned to the plate and ripped a double, scoring both runners to put the Berries behind 8-4.

In the team’s last opportunity to score runs, Logansport gave a hard final effort. Corcoran reached on an error, followed by a hit by Charley Kinsey. Rombold proved himself to be the go-to guy he has a reputation for being, and he kept the Berries’ hopes alive with a hard line double to right that scored Kinsey and Corcoran.

Ledger was brought in to pinch run, and Starbuck advanced him to third, where he was able to score after a wild pitch to bring Logansport within one. In the end, the effort was too little, too late for the Berries as Joel Reeser struck out looking to end the game.

“We had a lot of missed opportunities, a couple of pop-ups and things you just can’t do in a game like today.” said Turner.

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