Tyler Bowers pitched and hit North Central to a 13-3 win over visiting Eau Claire in a Region 3-AA baseball game played Tuesday night in Boonetown.
Bowers, a sophomore, had a home run, double and a single while driving in three runs at the plate. On the mound, he fanned 11 Shamrock batters and allowed just two hits in a game stopped after four and a half innings by the 10-run rule.
The victory gave Robbie Cash’s troops a 4-3 record in conference play.
After the visiting Shamrocks scored a run in the top of the first, the Knights responded with three runs in their half of the frame. With John Bowers on first base after drawing a walk, Tyler Bowers belted a one-out, two-run shot over the center field fence to give the hosts the lead for keeps at 2-1. Broderick Gaither followed with a walk and later scored on passed ball.
NC scored a run in the second to match one from EC with Chase Stephens drawing a walk and his courtesy runner, Brad Anderson, scoring on Cam Holley’s ground out.
With the lead still at 4-2, the Knights broke things open by scoring eight times in the home portion of the fourth.
Anderson led things off with a walk while Stephens got aboard on a bunt single. Anderson would later score on a passed ball. After John Bowers walked, Tyler Bowers lined a two-out RBI double to center. Gaither got on via error before Alex Tarlton and Stephen Barrett were both hit by a pitch. Dylan Hendrix reached on an error and later scored on Anderson’s bunt single.
In all, the Knights scored eight runs on three hits while taking advantage of two EC errors, two hit by pitches and three passed balls.
After the Rocks scored a run in the fifth, the hosts brought this game to an early close a half inning later as Tyler Bowers singled and would score on Gaither’s base hit to put the Knights up by 10 runs with one out.
NC scored its 13 runs on just six hits with Tyler Bowers getting half of those for the winners.
This was the second time in as many meetings this season that the Knights needed a big inning to get past Eau Claire. Earlier, NC scored nine runs in one inning in a come-from-behind 9-3 win.
Cash said this was a big game for his team to put behind them with a Thursday doubleheader against Columbia looming.
Staying with three losses keeps NC alive in the chase for second place in Region 3-AA and a first round home playoff game.
“Our kids hung in there and came up with a big inning when we needed one in this game,” Cash said after the victory over Eau Claire.
“We have three region games left to be played, including a big doubleheader with a good Columbia team on Thursday. We cannot afford to look past Columbia and to our game with (second-place) Fairfield Central after spring break, and we aren’t going to do that.
“Our guys know our situation, though. They know what we need to do and they have done a great job of not looking past any game or, opponent.”