No.9 New Albany rolls
to 5-0 victory over BNL
in 4-A sectional semifinal
GALENA – Bedford North Lawrence went down without a sound in the Class 4-A sectional semifinal.
New Albany ace Austin Dickey, a University of Louisville recruit, scattered 6 hits while striking out 5 as the No.9 Bulldogs silenced the Stars 5-0 on Saturday afternoon, advancing to meet No.8 Jeffersonville (a dramatic 3-2 winner over Floyd Central in the first semifinal) in the championship at Floyd Central.
BNL bowed out of the state tournament with a 17-11 record.
The Stars, facing Dickey (7-3) for the second time this season, had suffered a 4-1 loss (in five innings before a storm forced the premature ending in the Hoosier Hills Conference Tournament) on May 11. Nothing changed in 17 days.
“He’s a good pitcher and we could see that the first time we faced him,” BNL coach Jeff Callahan said. “He limited the opportunities, and when you play good teams, games come down to who gets the big hits and makes the plays. They were the team that did that.”
Dickey, who allowed six hits and a first-inning run in the first meeting, struggled with his breaking pitches during his first trip through the BNL batting order. The Stars had runners on second and third following a Brody Tanksley double in the second inning, but once Dickey got past that difficulty, he was in control.
“He didn’t have a curve ball the first three innings, couldn’t get one near the plate,” New Albany coach Chris McIntyre said. “Luckily he got through those three innings without them scoring. From the fourth inning on, his off-speed stuff was pretty impressive.
“That first game, you kind of throw away. We knew it wasn’t going the distance, so it was just an odd game and I wasn’t banking anything on what happened in that first one.”
Tournament pressure magnifies mistakes, and the Stars made too many. New Albany got its first two runs in the first against BNL starter Tanner McBride (3-3) on two hit batters and a bases-loaded walk (all after the first two outs were recorded). The Bulldogs (23-7) took advantage of BNL errors to score twice in the third and fourth innings.
In the third, Dickey cracked a run-scoring single to left and Ryan Robison added a sacrifice fly. Alden Nixon led off the New Albany fourth with a double and later scored on a wild pitch. The last run scored as the Stars committed an error while attempting to complete a double play.
“In tournament games, there’s not a lot of runs scored,” McIntyre said. “An error or two usually makes the difference. We were able to put the ball in play and force their defense to make some plays.”
Austin Long had a double in the 6th and Brandt Callahan ripped another in the 7th, but the Stars failed to capitalize.
“One of things with us was consistency,” Callahan said. “That’s something we didn’t have all year, and that starts with me. I need to see what I can do, as a coach, to put us in better positions to win games, to be playing our best baseball when it comes to the tournament. We want to be playing our best when it means the most, and that’s not been the case. That’s something we need to look at in the offseason.”
Callahan and Tanksley both went 2-for-3 for the Stars.
Jeffersonville (20-4) advanced with a late rally against the Highlanders (14-10), scoring twice in the sixth. The Red Devils tied the game on a bases-loaded walk and plated the winning run when Drew Campbell stole home against Floyd left-hander John Bradshaw.
The Devils and Bulldogs will meet on Monday at 2 p.m., with the winner moving on to the regional at Evansville on June 4.
“Jeffersonville has to be tickled they’re playing us instead of Bedford,” McIntyre said. “We haven’t played them real well. They’ve handled us pretty easily. But it’s the tournament and we’ll give it our best effort. I’m sure we’ll get their best effort.”