The North Vermillion baseball team played one of their best games of the season when they faced Riverton Parke in sectional action on the Panther’s home field – that according to Falcon head coach Hank Lopez.
Alex Tallman was on the mound for the visitors and the senior hurler kept the hosts off the scoreboard until the fourth inning.
Prior to that frame, the Falcons could not get a baserunner while striking out seven times in nine at-bats so the burden was on Tallman to hold the fort.
He did so until that fourth inning when two singles and a stolen base allowed the Panther to take a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Falcons got their first baserunner when Tallman singled to lead off the inning and then reached second when Riverton Parke misplayed an attempted sacrifice bunt by Luke Osborn who got to first safely.
Zach Fitzwater came up and did his job, putting down a successful sacrifice bunt to move Tallman and Osborn to third and second respectively, but the next two batters were outs to end the threat.
Riverton Parke added a run in the sixth on a single, a sacrifice bunt and a second single that saw a Falcon bobble the ball slightly to the first batter to score for a 2-0 lead.
The Panthers plunked Josh Little in the sixth and he stole second for North Vermillion, but once again, a strikeout ended the inning before a run could score.
The Falcons had one last chance in the seventh when Tallman reached second on a dropped ball in left field and then Fitzwater moved him to third with a sacrifice, but Garrett Lawson, the Panther pitcher, picked up his thirteenth strikeout to end the game with Tallman still on third.
“Alex threw awesome,” Lopez said. “It was his best game of the year – and he had two hits, too.”
Lopez said it was frustrating that his team could not get the hit they needed when they needed it “particularly in the fifth when we had runners on second and third with one out.”
He said his team has been progressing over the past few years, explaining, “We won one game two years ago, seven last year and nine this year, so we’re moving in the right direction.”
Lopez noted that the squad would lose only two seniors – Tallman and Derek Foncannon – saying they would be missed, but also saying that the experience gained by this year’s players should help next season.