Winamac edges Triton, 4-3

Zac Pitney tries to regain his composure after giving up a three run dinger to Winamac's Jack DeGroot.Zac Pitney pitches against Winamac during Thursday night's Hoosier North Athletic ConferenceConnor Pitney catches a fly ball Thursday night for the out.
Whitney Worthen
Sports Writer

By Whitney Worthen
Assistant Sports Editor

BOURBON —It was a big Hoosier North Athletic Conference game for Triton, and luck had favored the Trojans most of the night. Why not a little longer?

With a three error inning, Triton had only coughed up one, leaving two stranded on third and second. With a runner on second in the second and loaded bases in the sixth, senior pitcher Zac Pitney wormed the home team out of potential scoring opportunities not once but twice. However, when the top of the seventh inning rolled around, Triton’s luck ran out and Jack Degroot led the Winamac Warrior’s to a 4-3 victory Thursday night at Kizer Field.

“Just a rough night tonight, and that’s how baseball is,” said Triton head coach Tyler Hensley You win some, and you lose some. It was a good game overall.”

With runners on first and second and one out, Winamac needed the come-from-behind victory it has grown accustom to over the year. The Warriors had recorded four come-from-behind victories in the seventh over the year prior playing Triton. When DeGroot stepped to the plate, the Warriors still believed the game was far from over.

With a 0-1 count against DeGroot and as Triton’s three sport big playmaker guru, it seemed fitting that Pitney would wiggle the Trojans out of a bad situation for the third time that night, and with Degroot struggling to hit the curveball all night, it was the pitch of choice. However, after nearly 12 curveballs on the night, DeGroot did what he hadn’t done all night — smacked it for a dinger over the centerfield fence for three runs to take the lead.

“One pitch kills you. That wasn’t necessarily a bad pitch, but hey he got ahold of it. That’s baseball,” said Hensley
“That guy hasn’t hit a curveball all night. We probably threw 12 curveballs tonight. He got ahold of it.”

Winamac knew for that one inning it finally found luck’s favor.

“We were lucky,” said Howe. “I mean the kid that pitched for them threw off speed and kept us popping it up and hitting little ground balls all night, and one lucky break and we take it from them. It’s heartbreaking I know, but its exciting for us.”

Triton could have simply walked Winimac’s star hitter, and if the Trojans had chosen to throw out Winamac’s Doug Mullen on the sac bunt rather than Will Planck running to third, Howe theorized they would have walked him. With a runner on first and second, the home team took a chance, allowing DeGroot to be the hero for the night.

“He’s been our hitter all year,” said Howe “He’s been hitting over .600, and you know, I shouldn’t say I’m glad the guy got thrown out on third but because he got thrown out at third, they didn’t walk him. They had to pitch to him. I didn’t think the ball was going to go out but it was huge.”

However, if theory was the name of the game, Triton would have won in theory. The Trojans left 12 runners stranded on base over the entire game and should have probably scored a few more time in theory. They definitely should have had the 4-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth, forcing DeGroot’s 3-RBI homer to simply tie the game.

However, Triton didn’t run any of its 12 stranded on, and Nate Flenar hesitated a second too long near third to score in the bottom of the third.

“Still we left too many on. I bet we left 10, 11, 12 guys on,” said Hensley. “I don’t know how many, but you can’t leave those guys on. Score would have been different, and we had a guy half way (from third) that should have scored in the sixth. We had a lot of chances to win the game.”

Winamac put in DeGroot in the bottom of the seventh to close out the game. He quickly threw out Triton’s Adam Steven’s looking, but with the excitement pump through him, DeGroot walked the next two batters. Luckily, he managed to strikeout Triton’s Connor Pitney and pinch hitter Ryan Snyder for the last two outs to end the game.

Winamac left happy, still tied for the top of the conference with LaVille and DeGroot six pitches shy of his 35 count which would allow him to play Saturday in Winamac’s double header against LaVille for the conference title.

“To come back in, he was nervous and excited so everything was high,” said Howe about DeGroot, “but he did a great job.”
“We got a game saturday so he could only pitch 35 pitches, and I knew as soon as we get ahead, we couldn’t get tied. We have to big games with LaVille Saturday so it doesn’t get any easier for us.”

Triton drops to 11-5 overall and 8-3 in conference. The Trojans have five more games left in conference, and if Winamac or LaVille drop a conference game, jump from third to being in a three-way tie with the two front leaders.

“We still want to go out and win our last five,” said Hensley. “I know we can. Just a rough night tonight, and that’s how baseball is. You win some, and you lose some. It was a good game overall.”

•Winamac 4, TRITON 3
at Bourbon
W: 100 000 3 — 4
T: 300 000 0 — 3
Carson Despot, Jack DeGroot (W, 7); Zac Pitney (L)
HR: DeGroot (W)

Pick up tomorrow's edition of the Pilot to see how Triton softball did against Jimtown.