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North Miami hammers Culver Community

CONTINUATION: North Miami’s Nate Musselman (Pictured this season) continued his scorching start at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a triple and 3 RBIs in the Warriors’ 15-1 win over Culver Community Monday evening.

BY TRENT SCOTT - tscott@perutribune.com

After a week off from the opening games of the season, North Miami got right back to business on the baseball diamond Monday against Culver Community.

The Warriors had struggled to bring runners in once on base in the games against Jimtown and South Bend Clay but that was not a problem against the Cavaliers as the hosts won 15-1 in five innings.

North Miami head coach Troy Hudson wasn’t sure what shape the team would be in for the game but got an idea that the squad was ready to go by game time.

“I could tell from pregame what we were getting for this game,” Hudson said. “We had about nine guys here last week who practiced and we could tell who also had been throwing baseballs around and getting some swings in.

“Once we got rolling, it was nice to see us. We played our game, which was good to see.”

Culver’s sole run came right out of the gate as Weston Keller worked a leadoff walk off of Braxton Beall to open the game, moved to second on Joseph Paul’s groundout and scored on a Jake Fisher single.

Beall would only allow one more runner into scoring position in his four innings of work and by the time he departed for Jackson Holland in the fifth, the win was more than secure.

Eli Henderson also drew a leadoff walk to open the bottom of the first inning, stole second and third before scoring on a wild pitch.

Holland also drew a walk and scored on Nate Musselman’s triple, the latter scoring on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Jackson Green.

Parker Johnson reached on an error and advanced stole two bases but was left stranded at third base to end the inning.

The Warriors tacked on three more runs in the second, starting with a Josh Mongosa double, scoring when Henderson reached on an error.

Holland moved Henderson up a base and Musselman singled to put two men on for Green, who singled to drive in both runners for a 6-0 lead.

“We needed it,” Hudson said about the early runs. “In the first three games, we left 42 guys on base, which is around two runners per inning.

“The numbers will come back to us and there were times we made silly mistakes on the bases in those previous games. We have an idea of what we want to do, so jumping out early against a team Culver was important to build confidence and you could see the ball start popping off the bat from then on.”

The big damage came in the third inning as the hosts piled on eight runs.

Braeden Hendershott was hit by a pitch to start the inning, stealing second and later scoring on a wild pitch.

Mongosa and Corey Collins both drew walks while Henderson was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

An error on a Holland fly ball to left field allowed a run to score before Musselman plated two more with a single.

Johnson singled home the fifth run of the inning while Masters plated two more with a single for a 13-1 lead.

Collins finished the scoring with a single and Masters plated one more run in the fourth, bringing Nate Maynard in on a single to finish out the scoring.

Defensively the Warriors did not commit an error using a slightly different configuration that in the first three games which Hudson was happy to see.

“Alex played his first full game at shortstop and is a versatile kid we can play just about anywhere,” Hudson said. “He’ll catch some still but Parker is doing a phenomenal job for us back there.

“Braxton was solid for four innings and was getting better as he went. That early run we chalked up to not pitching for a week and a half but his fastball looked good and he had good command of his curveball.”

North Miami faced Clinton Central Tuesday and will host Carroll Thursday with Hudson wanting a few more things cleaned up as the games go on this week.

“We lost to Clinton Central 4-1 last year and Carroll by a good margin last year,” Hudson noted. “The Clinton Central game was one where we got behind early and just struggled to get going, almost like against Jimtown.

“Defensively, we want to keep working on our communication and we’re excited to get back out on the diamond a few times this week.”