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Patient Peru handles Mississinewa

WITH A BANG: Peru’s offense continued toplate runs in bunchesThursday evening as Peyton Honn (pictured) and the Tiger offense capitalized on 20 free passes Mississinewa served up to win their third game in five innings this season, defeating the Indians 18-2.

BY SCOTT HUNT - shunt@chronicle-tribune.com

GAS CITY — The Mississinewa baseball team played the role of enerous host Thursday afternoon and Peru made the Indians pay for the hospitality.

Four Ole Miss pitchers combined to issue 16 walks, hit four Tiger atters as Peru batted through its lineup in each of the first three innings. The visitors gladly headed back to Miami County with an 18-2 win in the five inning affair.

The Tigers’ least productive offensive inning was the first, when they scored just three runs. Christian Gatliff’s RBI single plated Daunte Majors, who drew a walk leading off the game, with two outs before Indian starter Owen Felver issued a walk to load the bases, then hit Kasey Comp and Austin Caldwell with consecutive pitches. Nine Tiger batters came to the plate, and Peru stranded three of its 11 runners for the game in the first.

Tyler Jakob led off the Ole Miss first with a infield single and moved to second on an errant throw, then trimmed Peru’s lead to 3-1 on Cade McCoin’s ground-rule double to center field.

But Peru assumed total control of the game in the top of the second. The Tigers sent 12 batters to the plate and scored seven runs on just four hits and five more walks to move in front 10-1.

While Mississinewa pitchers struggled to get the ball over the plate, Peru starter Zach Purcell had no such issues. The crafty left-handed junior allowed only one more hit over the final four innings after giving up two in the first. Purcell finished with nine stikeouts and one walk.

“He threw a few innings for us last year, but its his first varsity start for us this year,” said Peru coach Chuck Brimbury of Purcell. “He’s worked hard and done all the things. He’s got three pitches, and I though he had real good movement and real good stuff tonight.”

The Indians scratched out an unearned run in the fourth inning. After Easton Burton walked to leadoff, he advanced to third on single by Hunter Smalley and scored on a Peru throwing error.

Peru sent 10 more batters to the plate in the third, adding five more runs, then finished its scoring with a three-spot in the fourth.

“We’ve practiced it. We’ve put them in positions to have success, and they’re not having it,” said Mississinewa coach Mike Scott, who’s Indians have dropped three straight games now. “I don’t know if they’re pressing too much.

“We’re young, we’re inexperienced and that we have to fight through,” he added. “But I just told them through everything we have to be able to compete, and if we don’t we’re going to have ball games like this. Things will take care of themselves when you are (competing) but you have to throw strikes, you have to defend the ball, and you have to swing the bat, and those three things we’re having a very difficult time doing right now.”

Majors sparked the Tiger offense out of the leadoff spot, going 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles, two walks, two stolen bases and four runs scored. Gatliff drove in two runs with a hit and walked three times. He also scored four times.

Peru had nine hits in the contest and also benefited from three Ole Miss errors. Every player in the Tigers’ starting nine scored at least one run.

“The kids look like they understand what they’re trying to get done up (at the plate),” Brimbury said. “They understand inner-third, outer-third and what they’re trying to do with the baseball. I was proud of them, they knew the zone pretty well today.”