BY NEIL BURK – FOR THE LEBANON REPORTER
LINDEN- Nathaniel Bye held North Montgomery to just five runs Wednesday night.
But the Stars couldn’t get on the board to help Bye out, losing to the Chargers 5-0 in Sectional 25 baseball action on the Chargers’ home field.
Bye, a sophomore, also was the only Western Boone player to record a hit off of North Montgomery’s Mitch Rice.
Bye singled twice. Rice struck out 15 and moved his career strikeout mark to 189, overtaking Kurt Schlicher as first all time at North Montgomery for career strikeouts.
“Rice was throwing hard. He threw well. I think he was struggling with his curveball a little bit and we didn’t take advantage of that,” said Western Boone head coach Cesar Barrientos.
In his complete game, Bye struck out four and gave up eight hits.
“(Bye) continues to grow into (a big-time pitcher) every day,” complimented Barrientos. “I know he gets a little frustrated at times. But one of the challenges I had for him was to stay within himself despite the errors. He has worked on mental toughness and understanding that he can only control what happens in the circle. He did that tonight. The first time we played he took it upon himself.”
The Chargers got on the board in the first when a lazy fly ball found grass in shallow right-center.
Two batters later the score was 1-0 and was all that Rice needed. The Stars prevented further damage in the inning, forcing the Chargers to leave the bases loaded.
North Montgomery added three more in the third in a rally that was kicked off by an error. An insurance run in the sixth was just icing on the cake.
Clay Biesecker and Zach Prickett were the only other Stars to reach base, each earning a walk.
The Stars finish the year with a record of 6-19.
They went 2-12 in the Sagamore Athletic Conference.
Barrientos is expecting a class of 14 freshman next year, which will drastically improve numbers in what was an 18-player program this season.
“We’re doubling in one year. So that’s definitely a plus,” he said. “We’re losing five seniors and a couple have been really good leaders on the team.”
North Montgomery advances to play Frankfort tonight at approximately 7 p.m.
Their game will follow No. 2 Lebanon vs. No. 3 Crawfordsville, which begins at 5 p.m.
Nathanial Bye tries to make a catch Wednesday in the Stars’ sectional game against North Montgomery.