PREP ROUNDUP: Logan drops sectional heartbreaker 2-1 in 9 innings

Jun. 1—The Logansport baseball team had its chances but dropped a 2-1 game in nine innings to Harrison on Saturday in a semifinal game of the Class 4A Lafayette Jeff Sectional at new Loeb Stadium.

The Berries (21-9) had the bases loaded with two outs in the bottom of the ninth with their best hitter up in Gavin Smith. He ripped a line drive to center but Jake Gothrup made a great diving catch to save the season for the Raiders (20-9), who went on to beat No. 10 McCutcheon 10-4 in Monday's final.

"That was a heck of a high school baseball game," Logan coach Dan Frye told WSAL 1230-AM, 94.9-FM in a postgame interview. "The pitchers threw the ball fantastic. Both teams had chances at different times in the ballgame and neither one of us took advantage of it. That's the way it goes. It was a 2-1 game. I'm just so proud of our kids and so disappointed for them at the same time that we're done."

Senior right-hander Garrett Barron drew the start and he continued to shut down the Raiders, as he beat them 5-1 on one hit in 6 1/3 innings on May 5. Filling in for senior ace Mike Meadows, who missed the last month of the season with a broken finger in his right throwing hand, Barron again showed he's got ace stuff as well. He held the Raiders to one run on five hits and three walks in eight innings, striking out five. He was only removed because he was near the pitch count limit, Frye said.

A leadoff infield single by Gothrup in the third led to the Raiders' first run. He was bunted to second and scored on an RBI single by Hayden Davis.

Harrison junior ace Ethan McCormick was perfect through the first three innings. The Berries didn't get on the scoreboard until the fifth, when Kaiden Lucero led off with a walk and was bunted to second by Tristan Kitchel. He moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI by Grayson Long on a grounder to the first baseman. Long moved to second on a passed ball but was left stranded after McCormick came up with back-to-back strikeouts.

Stranding base runners was a theme for the Berries as they stranded 11 over the final six innings. Perhaps they've been watching too much Major League Baseball, as they struck out 13 times in the contest, though the Harrison pitching also deserves credit. McCormick struck out 10 in seven innings. He struck out 62 in 41 innings pitched during the regular season and posted a 1.30 ERA. He allowed one run on four hits and two walks on Saturday.

The game was not without controversy as the Berries were on the wrong side of a couple of close calls. Unlike MLB, the umpires don't get the benefit of replay to see if they were right or wrong. Even that is not always a satisfactory result in many cases.

The Berries put together a rally in the sixth. Calryan Parmeter led off with a single. Jeremiah Miller followed with a pinch-hit bunt single. Smith hit a smash to third that the third baseman fielded and beat Parmeter to third and tagged either him or the bag for an out. But the third baseman at some point dropped the ball. Frye argued Parmeter should have been safe and the bases should have been loaded with no outs. Instead the out call remained and McCormick finished the inning with a strikeout, walk, strikeout to get out of the inning without a run being scored.

The other controversial call came in the bottom of the ninth. Long was hit by a pitch to leadoff the inning and moved to second on a bunt by Isaac Russell with the Berries trailing 2-1. Pinch-hitter Brennan Goforth drew a walk and Parmeter drew a walk to load the bases with one out. Kian Harris hit a hooking liner down the third base line that Frye thought was fair but was called foul. The tying run would have scored and the winning run would have had a chance to score. Harris then struck out and Smith was robbed of a game-hitting hit by the diving catch in center and the ballgame and the Berries' season was over.

Frye talked about the controversial calls in a postgame interview with WSAL.

"We had a couple calls not go our way. I'm not sure what they're thinking or what their thought process was. But it's clear that I am in disagreement with exactly what they were talking about. I don't think they were in position to make the call, the kids jumps on third base, the ball bounces out of his glove and we're penalized. We're penalized and that run scores there not long after that and the game's actually over in the seventh inning when we get the three outs against them. But the calls went against us. It's the fact of the matter that we didn't get it that way. It didn't matter how much I wanted to yell and scream they weren't going to change it. I'm not sure anyone in there even had a view of it or whatever.

"His excuse was Cal slid into him and his helmet hit his glove and the helmet hitting his glove knocked the ball out of his glove. That's not what happened in the first place. He hit his glove on the bag and Cal slid in and the ball fell out. The base umpire was over here and there was no way he could see it in the first place. The home plate umpire, I'm not sure what he's doing, he's not watching it either probably. It is what it is. That went against us and that's all that matters."

Parmeter, whose defensive play at first base twice saved the game for the Berries and saved three runs during regulation, made an error as a pitcher on a throw to first on a bunt that put runners at first and second with no outs in the ninth. The next bunt Parmeter fielded and got the out at third for the first out. But Aaron Morgan followed with an RBI single to right to score the go-ahead run.

The Berries won their first NCC title since 2004 this year. They had their best season record-wise and most wins (21) since they went 26-4 in 2002, the last year they reached the State Finals. They were looking to defend their Class 4A sectional title but fell just short in a semifinal game.

"We were very happy with the way we played," Frye said. "Obviously it didn't come out our way in the end. But I'm very proud of these young men."

The Berries were wearing JT initials on their sleeves in honor of legendary coach Jim Turner, 90, who recently suffered a stroke and is currently in rehab in Lafayette.

"I'd like to send our thoughts out to coach Turner and a quick recovery and hope that he's doing well," Frye said. "I'd think he'd be very proud of the way the boys played today. I think he too as a coach knows that we would have had opportunities to score and finish the game and we didn't get it done. Ultimately it gave them another chance and they finally got one across there."

Smith had a double and single for the Berries. Russell added a double.

The Berries will graduate seniors Meadows, Barron, Harris, Ethan Denny, Caleb Miller and Eli Starkey.

— Beau Wicker

SOUTHWOOD 9, CASTON 1

Aside from hosting Class A Sectional 52, Caston's varsity baseball team drew the bye for Saturday's semifinal. They entered with a solid 13-11 record and two of the better right arms in the area. The bad news was, they would likely face the Southwood Knights, who ended last week as the No. 1 ranked team in the coaches poll.

The Knights come into Saturday's tournament game fresh off a 6-2 victory over rival Northfield Wednesday. Head coach Warren Dailey's squad entered with a 20-6 record, putting up crooked offensive numbers up and down the roster. Sophomore Mo Lloyd leads in the power categories with 13 home runs on the season, batting .494 with a 1.60 OPS. It should be no surprise that Southwood's pitchers have also factored in heavily. Tristin Hayslett got the start for the Knights, and has been spectacular all season. The senior righthander is 6-1 in 13 appearances, with a staggering 0.42 ERA.

Blake Mollenkopf had to feel good with his starter too, in junior righthander Kade Zeider. The Comets have stumbled of late, dropping their last four. Those losses cost Caston a share of the HNAC title and stalled momentum heading into the tournament.

Behind a sparkling performance by Hayslett on the mound, combined with big third and fifth innings, Southwood earned a spot in Monday's championship with a 9-1 victory over Caston.

Senior Carter See ignited the Comets early, with a towering triple to right field over Carson Rich's head. He later scored on a rare passed ball by Hayslett to give Caston a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Lloyd singled to left field to open the Knights' side of the inning. Southwood took their first and final lead of the game when junior Koby Thomas launched a two-run homer over the right field fence.

Southwood extended their lead in the third to 6-1 behind RBI singles from senior Alex Farr, junior Joey Bland and Lloyd. Freshman Talon Zeider shined at second base when he doubled up Lloyd at first after a flyout, keeping the damage at four runs in the inning.

Caston threatened in the fourth, when junior Joey Spin lined a single to center, moving Kade Zeider to second, who Hayslett plunked to open the inning. But See struck out, and Zeider was cut down by Knight's catcher Lloyd trying to take third on a ball in the dirt. Sophomore Jackson Rentschler lined a hard out at first to end the opportunity.

Junior Joey Spin relieved Zeider after three innings. Zeider allowed four earned runs on eight hits, struck out three and walked none. The Knights added three more runs off Spin in the fifth, with RBI singles from seniors Carson Rich and Mason Yentes.

"Southwood is a complete offensive team 1 through 9. They are balanced and really put pressure on you," said Mollenkopf.

Hayslett went the distance for Southwood, scattering five hits and striking out 11. Spin finished with two strikeouts, one walk and allowed five hits, allowing three unearned runs.

"I thought Joey and Kade did a nice job competing, we just needed to be more solid defensively," said Mollenkopf. "Hayslett was solid especially with his breaking ball in two-strike counts. I thought we had some good swings on his fastball, we were just unable to string multiple hits together."

Caston finishes 13-12. Southwood defeated Pioneer 4-0 in Monday's final.

— Jason Herd

BOONE GROVE 11, WINAMAC 1

Winamac fell in seven innings to Boone Grove at the Class 2A Hebron Sectional.

The Warriors, co-champions of the HNAC this season, finished 13-9.

Boone Grove defeated Rensselaer 9-2 in Monday's final.

BOYS GOLF

WABASH INVITE

Cass battled wet and windy conditions to win the 12-team invite at Honeywell on Saturday. Logansport placed second.

Cass won with a 336. Mason Hahn was the medalist with a 77. He was followed by runner-up medalist Rowdy Frey (80), Jaden Younts (89), Jensen Burrous (90) and Blake Brown (96).

Logansport placed second with a 346. The Berries were led by David Wooten who placed fourth overall with an 83. Ty Vietti placed fifth with an 84. They were followed by Trevor Vietti (85), Noah Lange (94) and Brant Higgins (94).

SOFTBALL

PIONEER AT WHEELER

Today's regional contest has been set as Class 2A No. 1 Pioneer (31-2) travels to Wheeler (20-7) for a game that gets underway at 6:30 p.m. EST.