Hodges makes the difference for Falcons

INGOMAR – It was almost like deja vu all over again for the Ingomar Falcons and the West Union Eagles.
Game 1 of their Class 1A semifinal series featured the winning team with solid pitching and hitting.
The only difference in Friday night’s Game 2 was which team featured the basics.
Josh Hodges threw four strong innings and carried a big stick to help Ingomar tie the series with an 8-1 victory. The series, now knotted at 1-1, shifts back to West Union today for the deciding Game 3 at 3 p.m.
“Scoring runs early was key,” Ingomar coach Andy Wilbanks said. “And Josh went out there and threw strikes.
“He kept his pitch count down, and that’s a plus for us.”
The Falcons (24-5) took control in the first three innings, scoring seven runs.
Tanner McCollum got Ingomar going in the right direction in the first frame with an RBI hit, but it was the second inning that gave the home team a nice cushion.
Austin Gregory lofted a three-run homer in the second, followed an out later by Hodges hitting his first of two home runs as Ingomar scored five to take a 6-0 lead. The Falcons also added a solo run in the third.
“They were just the better team tonight,” West Union coach Ashley Russell said. “When they had that big second inning, we never did respond.
“But we’ve still got a great shot, and just have to play West Union baseball.”
In the meantime, Hodges was holding down the West Union (17-12) offense, striking out seven and scattering two hits in his four innings of work. He then gave way to Preston Broom, who hurled two innings for the Falcons.
“Going into the game today, we hoped we would have pitching options for tomorrow,” Wilbanks said of how he distributed the innings of his pitchers in Game 2. “Now we have a couple of options for Game 3.”
Both Wilbanks and Russell said they were undecided for their respective starters for Game 3.
West Union scored its only run in the fifth inning on a home run by Will Basil.
Ingomar added an insurance run in the sixth as Hodges yanked his second solo home run of the contest.

David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal