LAWRENCEBURG - The top two teams in the Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference met in Saturday night’s first semifinal – postponed from Friday night - in unseasonal temperatures more befitting late fall. It didn’t seem to bother Jacob Meer, who fired a complete-game two-hitter against conference runner-up Franklin County. Four runs in the third inning off Wildcat starter Joe Fields held up for a 4-0 shutout.

Meer and the defense behind him were also steady glovemen on the night, committing zero errors. The Bulldog hurler did walk six batters and hit another while stranding a total of eight baserunners. The Cats had men in scoring position in four different frames but couldn’t deliver the needed RBIs.

This included the first half-inning as Fields and Chase Burton drew walks on the heels of the National Anthem. Meer coaxed flyouts from the next three hitters, the last caught by catcher Zach Wade inches from the backstop.
Batesville went down more quietly in the bottom of the stanza and Meer worked around a leadoff walk to Remington Watters in the top of the second.
The Dogs put a couple on in their second, Riley Zink and Sam Voegele reaching on tough grounders that FC couldn’t quite handle. Fields then got flyouts off the bats of Wade and Will Sherwood. Fields was left on third after a leadoff single in the top of three.

The Bulldogs’ money inning followed as they sent 10 batters to the plate. The one-out rally started when Cal Sherwood legged out an infield hit to first base and Batesville put together five consecutive hits. Trey Peters singled to left field and Max Baumer doubled to left center to score the game’s first two runs. Zink followed with a screamer down the third-base line that scored Baumer. After a Jack Grunkemeyer single and flyout, Wade walked to load the bases. W. Sherwood was hit by a Fields offering to bring in the fourth run, scored by Zink.

A hit-batsman opened FC’s fourth as Austin Short was plunked. Watters reached on what would be the Wildcats’ final hit, but the bottom of the order went down in order following a flyout and strikeouts swinging.

Franklin County showed some defensive prowess in the next three frames, beginning with Hunter Geis leaning over the fence to snag a foul pop-up from C. Sherwood in the bottom of the fifth. An inning later, with one out and a runner at first, left fielder Kristian Prows went to the turf to catch a Voegele liner and triggered a relay to first that beat Grunkemeyer back to the bag. In the Bulldog sixth, Short came pouncing out of his catcher’s crouch to make a diving catch of W. Sherwood’s foul ball.

Fields then forced runner Will Meer at home for the second out before giving way to fellow senior Garrett Ertel. Ertel allowed a double to C. Sherwood before getting Peters on a flyball to center.

FC’s last chance in the seventh started with a walk to Adam Daugherty and a one-out walk to Fields. Meer struck out Burton swinging and retired Brant Ertel on a deep fly to left.

Meer fanned 5 while Fields set down 4 in his time on the mound. Grunkemeyer had 2 of BHS’ eight hits.

The Cats finished 17-8. Batesville is headed to the regional after defeating Connersville 9-3 in Monday night’s championship.