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EC wins pitching duel in EIAC game

By John Estridge, Sports Editor

A very strong pitching performance by senior Alex Bischoff was wasted Thursday evening, April 4, when East Central bested Franklin County 5-3.

Bischoff threw for six innings allowing one run and three hits while striking out seven and walking two.

However, it was a brutally cold night, and Bischoff recorded 93 pitches through the six innings. Thus, FC coach Derek Stang pulled him after six innings.

East Central scored four times in the top of the seventh to gain the victory. Two errors in the top of the seventh added to the EC run total.

“I just told them 'you get a pitching performance like that, you've got to win,'” FC coach Derek Stang said. “He pitched well. He had 93 pitches and this early in the season and it was cold out, we weren't comfortable in going over that. It is a long season. He pitched a great game. We can't ask any more from our pitchers. We got six innings, and even the one run was off a wild pitch. That stuff is going to happen. It's hard to go a whole game and get a shutout in high school baseball.”

While Bischoff pitched an excellent game, his Trojan counterpart was also pitching an excellent game. Senior Simon Williams also pitched six innings, allowing three hits, one unearned run while striking out seven and walking three.

“Both pitchers pitched a good game,” Stang said. “He (Williams) threw strikes.”

East Central scored a single run in the top of the fourth and FC tied it in the bottom of the fifth.

With the pitching change, the Trojans teed off for four runs in the top of the seventh to take a 5-1 lead. Sophomore Garrett Ertel came on in relief during the seventh inning and just had one ball hit that resulted in an error, scoring some runs. However, he got out of the inning without any more damage.

“He did a great job of coming in and getting us out of it,” Stang said of Ertel.

But, the Wildcats did not despair. As the team gathered in front of the dugout between the top and bottom of the seventh, Bischoff exhorted his teammates to come back, and they almost did, scoring two runs in the bottom of the seventh. The tying runs were on the base paths when the final out occurred.

“That last inning we led off with a six-hole and got all the way back to the two,” Stang said. “And that's what you want. We got on with a walk and an error.” Stang said one entire half of an inning were three strikeouts with the Wildcat batters looking at third strikes.

“We have to at least put the ball in play,” Stang said. “We can't sit there and watch.”

“The seventh inning was a debacle, but we didn't do enough in the first six innings,” he continued. “If we get some production from the guys we expect to get production from, we're in position to close out that game.”

Also, Stang said the heart of the Wildcats' lineup was held to one walk.

“If we produce a little bit more, if we get just a little production from them, then they're feeling the pressure,” Stang said.

One bright spot offensively was senior second baseman Tommy Ratz. Ratz was two for four with an RBI double. Even his outs were loud as he also hit line drives.

“He had a good night Monday night, too,” Stang said. “He's looked very good. One of the things we were looking for is a leadoff hitter. He's looked great.”

FC is now 0-2 on the season and in the Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference. Both losses have come against East Central. EC is 3-1 overall and 2-0 in the EIAC.