AP NEWS

CHS opens with split at Bellevue West

March 26, 2019

Columbus High baseball finally took to the diamond on Friday at Bellevue West after the postponement or cancellation of seven games on a schedule set originally set to start March 14.

Solid pitching and timely hitting was the story for both teams in a doubleheader split in which Columbus won the first contest 4-3 before falling 3-2 in the nightcap.

Tyler Palmer tossed five strong innings in the win with six strikeouts, one walk and two earned runs. The junior picked up the first win of his season.

Cole Wilcox was the tough-luck loser in Game 2 going six innings with eight Ks, no walks and two earned runs.

Landon Thompson and Brent Beard each drove in two runs in the win. Thompson plated both with doubles.

Eric Mustard doubled and drove in a run in the loss.

“We were, really, pretty opportunistic as far as not having too many chances the first game, not a whole lot beside two guys with all the hits, but we took advantage of it,” coach Jimmy Johson said. “Second game, we had a lot more opportunities to score, could just never quite get that big, two-out hit.”

Columbus scored the first run of the season right away. After Palmer was hit by a pitch with one out then stole second he came in to score with two down on Beard’s single.

Bellevue West answered immediately with hits by the first and second batter in the order, both of which scored two hitters later on a line drive to center.

From there, Palmer controlled the Thunderbird lineup. He allowed a single, walk, single to begin the second but erased one runner on a pickoff then left two stranded with a fielder’s choice.

He then retired the next nine straight.

Thompson tied it in the fourth with his first double scoring courtesy runner Evan Bock. Beard gave Columbus a 3-2 lead the following inning with a two-out RBI followed by Thompson’s second RBI double.

Bellevue West drew to within 4-3 in the sixth with its own two-out hit but had a runner cut down at the plate attempting to score and tie the game.

Connor Dush, on for Palmer in the sixth, walked the first Thunderbird in the seventh and allowed the tying run to advance to third but secured his first save and the win with a strikeout in the final at-bat.

Cole Wilcox took to the mound in Game 2, allowed four hits through the first four innings and navigated around some instances of trouble before finally allowing three hits and two runs in the fifth. The third single of the frame scored two Bellevue West runs.

The Thunderbirds added another in the sixth then had to hang on as the Discoverers scored two in their final at-bat behind a Palmer triple, Fleeman walk, Mustard double and Fleeman run on a wild pitch.

The comeback fell short with the bases loaded on back-to-back strikeouts.

“We kind of had an idea what we had as far as knowing pitching and defense would be our strengths. Our bats are going to come around when we get more chances to play,” Johson said.

“First game out, to only walk two guys, that was huge for our pitchers. I think we’ve got the talent to do some really exciting things.”

Nate Tenopir is the sports editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at sports@columbustelegram.com.