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Woodmen battle past Braves

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No storms hit the east baseball diamond at Center Grove High School late Tuesday.

There was, however, an unanticipated downpour of runs produced by Greenwood in the second inning of its Johnson County Tournament first-round game with Indian Creek.

For Woodmen coach Andy Bass, it was a case of the clouds lifting in what’s been a challenging season.

With two down and nobody on base, his team strung together seven straight hits and crossed the plate six times to take command in their 8-5 victory.

Greenwood (5-12), the No. 4 seed, advanced to Saturday’s semifinals round, where it will take on top-seeded and tourney host Center Grove at 10 a.m.

“We’ve had so many games where we had runners at third base with nobody out and couldn’t get them in. I’ll take a wild pitch to get home — whatever it takes,” Bass said.

The Woodmen did, in fact, score an insurance run on a wild pitch in the sixth inning but ended up not needing it. What Greenwood did need was its offensive outburst in the second when the Woodmen sprayed the baseball all over the outfield.

Outfielders Ethan Berry and Jackson Daugherty both knocked in a run with singles, starting pitcher Marty Underwood drove in two with a base hit and designated hitter Jake Still doubled in a pair against Braves senior pitcher Hunter Abrams.

This took place after Indian Creek scored on an RBI single by center fielder Ryan Decker in the top of the inning.

The Braves tallied their second run when Abrams belted a home run off the scoreboard against Greenwood’s Underwood in the third inning.

That was just the start of things for Abrams.

After second baseman Brett DeHart reached on a single and shortstop Brenden Smith was hit by a pitch to begin the fourth inning, Abrams helped his own cause again by slamming a two-run double to right center.

Abrams came home on an error by the shortstop after being advanced to third base on a fly out.

“Hunter was on short rest today after throwing a complete game against Cascade on Saturday,” said Indian Creek coach Adam Blackburn. “I knew he could keep it close.

“As far as (him) at the plate goes, what he did today I expected because he’s been pretty hot lately.”

“(The Braves) really fought,” said Bass. “It’s really easy to give up when you’re down 6-1. I was very impressed with Abrams. After he gave up those runs, he didn’t fear us. He kept coming at us. And he swung the bat well. We had a hard time getting him out.”

But Greenwood put the wraps on Abrams and the Braves (12-11) the rest of the way while adding insurance runs in the fifth and sixth innings.

Senior Mitch Caster worked the final two inning on the mound for the Woodmen, retiring six of the seven batters he faced in earning a save.

The Woodmen’s fifth-inning run was provided by Still, who immediately pelted the scoreboard in left center field with a homer.

“Jake had a huge home run, taking the first pitch of the inning and driving it like that,” said Bass, whose team had seven hits to Indian Creek’s seven.

Blackburn also was pleased with his team’s three runs in the fourth, especially following an unfortunate turn of events in the preceding inning.

Indian Creek had two runners on with just one out, but then had two consecutive batters go down looking.

“The inning in which we had runners on first and second and then had the two backwards K’s stole a lot of our thunder,” Blackburn said. “But I was very happy with the way we battled today.”

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