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U.S. Steel Yard

The U.S. Steel Yard in Gary was the site of the 17th annual RailCats’ High School Challenge on Monday.

Big picture: The Griffith baseball team opened its Greater South Shore Conference slate just like it wanted to Monday, notching a 13-6 win over Bishop Noll in the RailCats’ High School Challenge at U.S. Steel Yard in Gary.

“Obviously, early in the year to be hitting the ball like we are, that’s good to see. As the season goes on, you’re going to have ups and downs,” Griffith coach Brian Jennings said. “What I liked about what we did tonight was we hit with runners in scoring position and we hit with two outs.”

The Times No. 6 Panthers scored two runs with two outs in the sixth inning and two more with two outs in the seventh.

“We’re a veteran team. We think we should be able to do that,” Jennings said.

Johnny Maynard started the game for Griffith. The senior pitched four innings, allowing only one run and striking out seven. The Warriors got to some of the pitchers Griffith brought in in relief.

“(Maynard) started to labor a little bit. He was up around 70, 75 (pitches). We just thought, ‘It’s cold out, his first time out, let’s get some other guys on the mound,'” Jennings said. “We felt like we had things in somewhat control.”

Bishop Noll, which was on the bubble in The Times' preseason poll, scored two runs in the sixth and three more in the seventh inning.

In its 17th year, the Challenge is a series of 20 games at the Gary SouthShore RailCats' home ballpark featuring high school teams from Indiana and Illinois. Games kicked of Monday and continue through April 27.

Turning point: Griffith opened things up with four runs in the third inning, expanding its lead to 7-0.

Griffith player of the game: Senior first baseman Bubba Davenport — He had three hits, including a double and a triple, and four RBIs.

“I felt great. I was feeling it. I was feeling myself,” Davenport said. “I was seeing everything clear.”

Bishop Noll player of the game: Senior first baseman Will Peters — He had a double and a sacrifice for an RBI.

Quote: “You want to take the first game of the series,” Jennings said. “We come back to our place (Tuesday).”

Griffith and Bishop Noll play again Tuesday.

Beyond the box score: The win was number 401 for Jennings, who notched his 400th last week.

Up next: Bishop Noll (0-3, 0-1) at Griffith (2-0, 1-0), 5 p.m. Tuesday.

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