FORT WAYNE – Covered by the Tuesday afternoon dirt from Carrolls baseball diamond, Huntington North catcher Ethan Bartrom proudly rattled off the impressive list of his teams most recent conquests.
In a weeks time, the Class 4As third-ranked Vikings (11-0) had won at Norwell, swept a Saturday doubleheader from Northrop, then Tuesday routed the reigning two-time 4A state champion Chargers 11-1 – a veritable dismantling of Indiana high school baseballs murderers row, since all three teams have an equal share of six state titles among them.
They were big wins all around, said Bartrom, whose RBI double ignited a five-run fifth inning. Norwell was first in 3A; and Carroll is back-to-back state champions; and Northrop has a solid team and turned their program around. To get this win (Tuesday) builds the momentum a lot, but we also have a real good team coming up here Thursday.
See ya frying pan; hello fire, since No. 4 Homestead visits Huntington North on Thursday for yet another marquee matchup.
Youve got to play the best to be the best; youve got to beat the best to be the best, Bartrom said. We have to keep the blinders on and keep focused and play the game how we can play.
Carroll (7-3) got an up-close look at the potency of Huntington North.
Even though the Vikings loaded the bases in the first and second innings but didnt score, they ripped the game open with five runs in the fifth and five more in the sixth.
Mitch Trieglaff started the rally with a one-out walk and designated hitter Evan Brown reached on an error – one of five committed by the Chargers.
That set the stage for back-to-back doubles from Bartrom and winning pitcher Trevor Storie, and singles from Jared Green and Brock Gower.
By the end of the fifth, a 1-1 game was 6-1, and Huntington rattled off five more runs an inning later to make it a 10-run runaway.
Weve created the toughest schedule we could, Huntington North coach Russ Degitz said. Weve got to go back to practice (today) and get better.
As for the Chargers, whose lone run came in the second inning on an RBI groundout by Ross Koble, coach Dave Ginder said: Its April. Theres a lot of baseball (remaining). A team in April is not the same as its going to be at the end of May. We hope not.