Eastside rolls at Parkview
The TinCaps are away from home this week, but there was still baseball on the diamond at Parkview Field on Wednesday.
High school players from Eastside and Angola got the Midwest League treatment at the downtown baseball stadium, one of 10 games this season in the High School Baseball Series at Parkview Field.
The Blazers were playing on the professional field for a second straight year and, after losing in 2018, bounced back with eight runs in the fourth inning on their way to a dominant 13-1 victory over the Hornets in five innings due to the 10-run rule.
“This setting, obviously it’s a little different for high school kids to come here and play,” Eastside coach Aaron Willard said. “They’re jacked up a little bit. ... Even balls coming up into the air a little bit and just reading them out of the stands and things, which you normally don’t do in a regular game.
“We just said, ‘Hey, let’s settle in.’ It’s still 90-foot bases, it’s 60 feet, 6 inches from the mound.”
Jumping out to a first-inning lead helped the Blazers (13-3) settle down. The first four runners reached base against Kaleb Farnham, including three via the walk. Joe White drew a bases-loaded walk to bring in the first run and give Eastside a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
White went 1 for 1 with two walks and two runs scored.
By the end of the first, the Blazers had pushed their lead to 4-0 and that was plenty of support for senior pitcher Chase Franz.
Franz struck out the side in order in the first and retired the first 11 batters he faced, eventually pitching a five-inning complete game and striking out seven while giving up just three hits and one run.
Farnham had an RBI single in the fourth to plate Angola’s only run.
“I was just trying to throw strikes and get ahead of guys,” Franz said. “After (we got the lead), I just let them put the ball in play and had my defense make plays, which they did all game.”
Eastside got plenty of insurance in the fourth when it sent 12 batter to the plate and scored eight runs without an extra-base hit. Walks and singles were the story and the Hornets (7-9) threw the ball around more than coach Roger Roddy would have liked, extending the inning.
One player who didn’t have a hit or walk in the big inning was designated hitter Keegan Miller, who had an unlucky day at the plate. He hit a pair of towering fly balls, one to left and one to right, that reached the warning track before being caught.
“Any other high school field, that’s gone,” Miller said, laughing.
The win over a conference rival was impressive, but the real fun for the Blazers was playing at a field usually occupied by minor-league baseball players.
“It was awesome,” Franz said of getting to play at Parkview Field. “The facilities here are beautiful, the field is amazing. Everyone just had a good time. You walk into this place and you just have a smile on your face.
“I come to so many games here every summer with lots of friends, so when I come here this summer, I’ll just look out there and think about this game.”