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Carroll tops Norwell in NHC baseball showdown

Both teams supply impressive pitching, spotty defense

Saturday, April 27, 2013 - 6:21 am

OSSIAN – On a night of great pitching and some sloppy mistakes, Carroll took advantage of both to seize the early lead in the Northeast Hoosier Conference baseball race.

Carroll pushed across two runs in the 11th inning to take a 5-3 win over Norwell on Friday in a thrilling showdown at Norwell.

Both teams used two pitchers, and all four performed well, but it was Carroll's Blake Converset picking up the win for the Chargers with a final four scoreless innings to shut down Norwell. The Chargers scored their final two runs in the top of the 11th on a double steal and a wild pitch. Matt Meihls scored the go-ahead run and Keegan Nichols added the insurance run.

Norwell had opportunities to win. The Knights left runners stranded on third in the sixth and seventh innings.

The Chargers improved to 8-3 (2-0 NHC) while Norwell fell to 12-2 (1-1 NHC). Grant Inman had three hits, including two doubles, for the Chargers.

“It was fun,” Carroll coach Dave Ginder said. “Our kids did a good job of just focusing. We swung at some good pitches and took advantage of some of errors and walks. We just competed. I was happy with our performance but we have a lot to work on.”

Norwell pitcher Jonah Patten, a University of Arkansas recruit, made his first start of the season, but Carroll jumped on him with an early 2-0 lead in the first on Drue Tranquill's two-run homer to left. Norwell evened the score before Carroll went up 3-2 in the third. Norwell's Josh VanMeter hit a solo home run to make it 3-3 in the bottom of the fifth.

From there, it was a matter of which team could capitalize on an opening in a mistake-prone game. Norwell committed six errors, Carroll five.

Carroll's Mason Neuman pitched seven innings, striking out seven, before giving way to Converset. Patten struck out 11 in six innings before VanMeter took over for the final five. VanMeter struck out five but took his first loss of the season after four wins.

“You want to be put in these kinds of positions against a good team to make yourself better in the long run,” Norwell coach Andy McClain said. “It was one we wanted in the conference, but we will have to win the rest and get a little help.”