By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Facing the No. 1 ranked team in the state that has two NCAA Division I pitchers is not an ideal way to begin the high school baseball season.
That was the situation the Goshen Redskins found themselves in Thursday night when they hosted the Elkhart Central Blue Blazers at Phend Field.
Central scored eight runs in the third inning as senior Tanner Tully homered twice in a season-opening 13-2 victory.
Tully, who has signed to play at Ohio State, was the starting pitcher. He hurled the first three innings, striking out five and walking six.
“There are positives for us to take away from this game,” Goshen coach Hal Farmwald said. “We battled Tully and got him out of the game. The problem was they brought in Cory Malcom (signed with Arkansas Little Rock) and he is another DI pitcher. Still we had some good quality at bats.
“The score doesn’t look good, but if you take that eight-run inning we could have lessened the damage by making a couple of plays. Central is a talented team, probably the most talented one we will see this season.”
Central scored two runs in the top of the second and the Redskins tied the score in the bottom of the frame on a two-run double by senior Austin Henke that scored sophomores Derek DeMeyer and Jack Gingerich.
“That was a big hit by Austin,” Farmwald said.
The lead didn’t last long as Tully was the first batter for the Blazers in the top of the third. The left-handed batter put his team back in the lead with a opposite field solo homer. Central batted around and the bases were loaded when Tully returned to the plate. This time he belted a pitch over the fence in left center.
“As long as I’ve been coaching I’ve never had a kid hit two home runs in an inning,” said Central coach Steve Stutzman who is in his 18th season at the school. “Tully was not as sharp tonight on the mound, but that will come around.”
Tully also had an RBI single in the seventh inning to finish with three hits and six RBI.
“He hurt us more with his bat than his glove,” Farmwald said. “He is a tough pitcher. He throws in the upper 80s and is around the plate.”
Senior Casey Ianigro had a two-run double in the third.
“He was a spark for us,” Stutsman said.
Central is a veteran club. All 10 players in the starting lineup, including the designated hitter, were seniors.
“This is a group I’ve been watching,” Stutsman said. “They have been coming to my summer camps and having been playing ball for a long time.”
Senior Luke Harris had three hits for the Redskins. He singled in the third, singled in the fifth and doubled in the seventh.
“Luke had a great game for us,” Farmwald said.
Besides the three hits, Harris had a quality game at catcher filling for classmate Travis Pickard, who was the DH. Harris is the team’s regular third baseman.
“We had to rest Pickard’s throwing arm, but he should be ready to go after break,” Farmwald said. “Harris did an outstanding job behind the plate. He is one of the real leaders of our team.”
Goshen used four pitchers as senior Jake Jesse, senior Sylas Buller and junior Deric Haynes all went to the mound.
The Redskins (0-1) have to wait until Saturday, April 6 to get back in action when they travel to New Prairie for a twin bill.
“We have a few things to fix. I just wish we didn’t have to wait seven or eight days to play again,” Farmwald said.
Central 028 000 3 — 13
Goshen 020 000 0 — 2
Pitching: (Central) Tanner Tully (W) five strikeouts and six walks. Cory Malcom and Riley Futterknecht also pitched. (Goshen) Jorge Pizana (L) one strikeout and three walks. Jake Jesse, Sylas Buller and Deric Haynes also pitched.
Hitting: (Central) Tanner Tully two home runs, single, six RBI; Matt Eppers triple, Casey Ianigro double, two RBI; Austin McArt double, three RBI; Cory Malcom double. (Goshen) Austin Henke double, two RBI; Luke Harris double, two singles.
Records: Goshen (0-1) is idle until playing a doubleheader at New Prairie on Saturday. April 6.