Brett Gierke's three first inning strikeouts and a constant barrage of Tiger Cub hits propelled Greencastle past Brown County 11-1 in 5 innings on Saturday afternoon. The junior threw 85 pitches in the win, allowing five hits and walking three batters.
Gierke opened the game with three straight strikes to strike out Luke Huls, Brown County's lead off hitter, before allowing a double to of Jacob Percifield and walking Conner Higgings. The Tiger Cub hurler then settled down, striking out the next two batters for the visiting Eagles.
"I think just being the first inning they weren't really ready," Greencastle head coach Troy Remsburg said of his team after the victory. "After (Brown County) scored against them they kicked it into another gear and decided it wasn't going to happen.
"They turned it on a little after that run."
Greencastle led off the bottom half of the inning in style with singles from Ryan Battin and Dylan Linton before Andy Bell beat out a ball to third base, scoring Battin who had advanced to third on Linton's single. Landon Miller would plate what would be the eventual winning run, pushing Linton across on a sacrifice fly to deep left field.
But Greencastle wasn't done. After a 1-2-3 inning from Gierke, Greencastle was able to score in the bottom of the second when the designated hitter Cole Dohlar, reaching on a single himself, crossed the plate thanks to a Battin single.
Brown County's only run of the game came in the third inning. After a stagnant second frame, the Eagles came out ready to hit, scattering three base hits and forcing one Tiger Cub error to slide across their only run of the game. The Eagles otherwise managed just two hits in the remainder of the game.
"Brett pitched a very good game," coach Remsburg said of his man on the mound. "He didn't try to do anything out of the ordinary. He stayed in his zone and did a very good job."
The game ended by mercy rule at the 11-1 mark in the bottom of the fifth inning. Nick Gilliam reached first base when the right fielder misjudged a high fly ball hit directly into the sun, but he was quickly put out on a fielder's choice at second base, allowing Dohlar to take his place on the bases. Dohlar stole second and was eventually scored on a Battin line drive base hit to center field. Battin was in turn plated by Bell's hard ground ball to the Eagle shortstop who misplayed the ball badly. Miller's single to right field allowed Linton to score and Ryan Pettit's double pushed across Bell, the 11th run, ending the game.
Battin finished the game 4-4 with three runs scored and one of two extra base hits for the hosts, ending the game with an impressive 1.500 slugging percentage. Bell was 2-3, though reaching base safely all four times at bat, scoring two more of the Tiger Cubs' runs. For Brown County it was the shortstop Percifield with the best line of the day, the speedster went 2-3 but was stranded on third twice.
"Some of the new guys moving up this year," Coach Remsburg said of his newcomers, mentioning Dylan Harbaugh and Gierke by name, "they're getting up to the level of the other boys and it's making the team stronger."
Greencastle advances their season to 2-3, victors in their last two games after losing the opening three of the season by a combined score of 42-4.
"The first few games of the year were pretty tough," the coach added. "They know what it's like to get beat up on. They didn't like that feeling so they decided to turn it up and play like they can play."
The Tiger Cubs take the field again Tuesday against Rockville (0-3) at 5 p.m.
Brown County 0 0 1 0 0 -- 1 5 4
Greencastle 2 1 3 1 4 -- 11 15 1
WP -- B. Gierke
LP -- T. Allison
2B -- J. Percifield (BC); R. Battin (3B), R. Pettit
SB -- R. Battin (2), C. Dohlar