ELKHART — Strong pitching and aggressive hitting led Elkhart Memorial High School and Concord High School to victories Thursday, May 29, in the first round of the Class 4A Elkhart Sectional baseball tournament at Memorial's Charger Field.
Elkhart Memorial’s Crimson Chargers (17-11-1) blanked Goshen 5-0 behind the three-hit hurling of left-hander Jake Tucker (9-1). The Goshen Redskins wound up at 3-25.
The Concord Minutemen (13-15) got five solid innings with nine strikeouts from right-hander Nick DeFreese (5-2) in a 6-1 win against Elkhart Central, the 2014 4A state champion.
The semifinals are Saturday, May 31.
"The splitter was working for me really well," said DeFreese. "It's my go-to pitch."
Lane Schultz doubled twice and drove in three runs for Memorial. The Chargers scored three unearned runs in the third inning and two more in the sixth.
"He's got great bat speed and a lot of pop in his bat," said Chargers coach Scott Rost of Schultz. "He's working really hard to improve mechanically."
DeFreese and Stephen Pinarski knocked in two runs each while Brett Austin and Jarrod Beverly also plated runs for the Minutemen. Pinarski scored twice and had one of Concord's three stolen bases.
"(Duncan Boone), DeFreese and (Brenden Curry) all have the greenlight (on the bases)," said Minutemen coach Jim Treadway. "We put the ball in play and moved the runners when we needed to.“
Central coach Steve Stutsman saw his team struggle offensively and defensively, and even when Concord made two first-inning errors, the Blue Blazers (5-20) were not able to take advantage.
"We kept battling and couldn't get over the hump," said Stutsman. "Unfortunately, that's how the season went."
4A Elkhart Sectional
Elkhart Memorial 5, Goshen 0
Memorial 000 302 0 — 5 6 1
Goshen 000 000 0 — 0 3 3
Jake Tucker (W, 9-1) and Daniel Asbury; Deric Haynes (L) and DJ Ambrose.
Memorial: Hits — Lane Schultz 2. 2B — Schultz 2. RBI — Schultz 3. Runs — Jon Bailey 2.
U — Scott Siler, plate; Rob Bjorkland, first base; Harold Gingerich, third base. T — 1:27. DP — Goshen 2.
Records: Memorial 17-11-1, Goshen 3-25.
Concord 6, Elkhart Central 1
Central 000 001 x — 1 2 4
Concord 231 000 x — 6 7 4
Kyle Smith (L), Micah Bowyer (3), Colin Rudicil (6) and Jesse Zepeda, K. Smith (3); Nick DeFreese (W, 5-2; 9 strikeouts), Matt Williams (6) and Jake Vernon.
Concord: Hits — Stephen Pinarski. 2B — Pinarski. RBI — Pinarski 2, DeFreese 2. Runs — Pinarski 2. U — Rob Bjorkland, plate; Harold Gingerich, first base; Scott Siler, third base. T — 2:10.
Records: Concord 13-15, Central 5-20.
Next: Memorial vs. Concord, Northridge vs. Warsaw 10 a.m. and following Saturday, May 31, in semifinals of the Class 4A Elkhart Sectional.