They say patience is a virtue.
New Albany’s 9-10-year-old All-Stars might beg to differ.
Ready and raring to go Friday evening in the Minor Baseball State Tournament, New Albany didn’t waste any time building a big lead against Auburn, scoring four runs in the top half of the first inning and riding customarily terrific pitching en route to a 10-0 victory in four innings at Jeff/GRC Little League.
Perfect after two games, New Albany will meet Terre Haute North at 3 p.m. today in the winner’s bracket for a chance to play in Tuesday’s tournament semifinals. Terre Haute North defeated Indianapolis Havorford 13-3 on Friday.
New Albany has outscored its opponents 28-0 over the tournament’s first two games. Led by Josh Castleman, who had a two-run triple and solo homer, the two-time defending state champions collected six hits and four walks in the four-inning win on Friday.
“We have a very potent lineup. It’s just that simple,” New Albany manager Josh Biven said. “Right now we’re just clicking. We’re hitting. We haven’t had a pitcher overpower us yet. I don’t know if that can happen with the lineup we’ve got.”
Tucker Biven, Nick Sexton, Mitchell Meyer and Hunter Sprigler combined to toss a two-hitter for New Albany. Tucker Biven started on the mound and set down the first four hitters to set the tone before departing.
“I was just hoping to throw strikes and get them out,” Tucker Biven said.
The New Albany foursome teamed up for four strikeouts and no walks. Kaden Greer and Nolan Nack both singled in accounting for Auburn’s two hits.
“Our pitching has been just dominant,” Josh Biven said. “We’re hitting our spots. They’re dialed in just like the hitters are.”
“Our pitching is really working,” Castleman said. “We’re throwing a lot of strikes and our fielding is not letting them score.”
New Albany tallied three triples over the first three innings and raced out to a 4-0 lead in the first.
Castleman and teammate David Newbanks both rifled balls through the infield that scooted to the wall. Castleman’s triple brought in Tucker Biven and Austin Oppel, and Newbanks followed his triple by scoring on a wild pitch.
New Albany boosted its lead to 9-0 with a five-run third inning. Newbanks again played a key role with an RBI single and Jameson Miller Embry added a run-scoring triple. Three walks and a hit batter helped the advantage swell.
Castleman capped New Albany’s scoring in style when he led off the fourth inning by launching a solo home run to dead center field. He knew the ball was going to leave the ballpark.
“I just went down and got the low pitch and hit,” Castleman said. “It felt good.”
Castleman reached base in all three plate appearances and finished 2-for-2 with three RBIs. Newbanks also had two hits for New Albany, while Miller Embry and Sexton had one apiece.
Josh Biven expects a competitive contest against Terre Haute North.
“They want us, we want them,” he said. “It’s going to be a battle.”
They say patience is a virtue.
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