In perhaps the biggest contrast of championship teams on the day, unranked Carroll (Fort Wayne, Ind.) faced off with powerhouse No. 1 Cathedral (Indianapolis, Ind.) in an extra-inning showdown that will be remembered as a classic.
Carroll entered the state finals with a 25-6 record. The Chargers have never won a state title in any sport and last appeared in the baseball state finals in 1999 as a 3A school.
The Irish boast championship-caliber teams in multiple sports each season, the most recent of which came in the form of their 31-1 baseball team. Cathedral walked onto Victory Field for the state title game for the fourth time in the past decade.
Chargers pitcher Curtis Wise and Irish pitcher Dillon Peters went head-to-head for nine innings in an exciting defensive duel. Peters ended up with a state record 16-strikeout performance, but Wise’s placement pitching held the Irish scoreless for nine innings, giving Carroll the 1-0 win and a place in Indiana baseball lore.
"The game was terrific and the feeling after the game was just incredible," Carroll coach Dave Ginder said. "There was so much drama and so many big plays by both teams. I think that it was everything that you could ask for from a state championship game. (The Irish) are a great team and that’s what made it so special."
The drama was present throughout the game, with Wise squeezing out of a jam that had two Irish runners in scoring position in the fourth inning and Carroll third baseman Zach Vanlandingham making several diving plays on defense and hitting the game-winning RBI single off of Cathedral’s third baseman’s glove.
Vanlandingham went 1-for-3 at the plate while Cincinnati-bound centerfielder Justin Glass scored the game’s only run. Wise struck out six batters and allowed just five hits on the game. Those three players - and especially Glass and Wise - have garnered the most attention this season, but Ginder was quick to point out the effort of his entire Charger team.
"They’ve earned those accolades," Ginder said. "But we’ve got several kids that have stepped up and played their roles very well all season. I believe that great teams have great teammates, and we’ve definitely got some great teammates."
In addition to his 16 strikeouts, Peters went 2-for-3 from the plate. The Texas recruit finished his junior season with 154 strikeouts in just 13 games.
Andrean repeats as 3A champions
Class 3A No. 6 Andrean (Merrillville, Ind.) jumped out early on Jasper (Ind.), stifling the Wildcats for a 6-1 win in the championship game.
The 59ers were coming off of a 33-2 championship season and returned several key pieces. Pitcher Ken Mahala led Andrean on both sides of the plate, improving to 10-0 on the season and striking out seven batters while driving in three runs with a double in the fourth inning. Vince Tornincasa went 2-for-4 from the plate with an RBI for Andrean.
Jasper pitcher Spencer Sapp managed his team’s only run of the game, a solo home run in the sixth inning, but allowed six earned runs in his worst outing of the season. Sapp finished the season at 12-3.
Heritage Christian's experience pays off
Last season's 25-6 Heritage Christian (Indianapolis, Ind.) team won a 2A state title in convincing fashion, toppling Cass (Walton, Ind.) 11-3 and looking like the most polished 2A team in the state.
This year's Eagles had their feathers ruffled late in the regular season with, losing seven of their last nine games by a combined score of 45-28. Take away a 12-2 victory over Indian Creek (Trafalgar, Ind.) and those numbers become even more dismal. It seemed that their chances of a repeat were slipping away with each game, despite returning eight players from last year's squad.
But Heritage Christian found its groove at just the right time, rolling through sectionals, winning three games by a combined 33-2, then troucning their regional and semi-state opponents by a combined 18-4.
Delphi (Ind.) (26-7) made its first appearance in the 2A state finals in just the third year under head coach Pat Lowrey. The Oracles had breezed through most of their postseason competition, winning 12 of their last 13 games.
Despite earning eight walks and threatening to score a number of times against Heritage Christian, Delphi managed just one run on one hit in a 5-1 loss.
The Eagles posted three runs in the first two innings. Delphi managed a run in the third when Tyler Smith came home on a wild pitch, but got no closer and Heritage Christian posted another paid of runs in the sixth inning.
Pitcher David Ledbetter struck out six over six innings for the Eagles while going 2-for-2 with an RBI from the the plate. Twin brother Ryan Ledbetter also drove in a run, while teammate Cam McWilliams with 2-for-3 from the plate and drove in a pair of runs. Delphi managed just three hits in the game.
Lafayette Central Catholic repeats
After a lenghty rain delay, Lafayette Central Catholic (Lafayette, Ind.) closed out Tecumseh (Lynnville, Ind.) 4-2 to repeat as 1A state champions, marking the fourth title in the past seven years for the Knights.
Austin Munns drilled a two-RBI single in the fourth inning to give the Knights their third and fourth runs. Tecumseh scored once more in the fifth inning but could not manage any more runs over the remaining two innings.
Munns was 2-for-4 from the plate while pitcher Tayler Glaze drove in the other run for the Knights. Kolton Chapman drove in the only run for Tecumseh, while both teams scored one run apiece on errors.
Boys Basketball: Carmel finds new head coach
After spending a little over a month looking for a new basketball coach, the Carmel (Ind.) Greyhounds have found their man in Scott Heady.
Heady was an assistant under his father at Carmel for seven season before coaching conference rival Warren Central (Indianapolis, Ind.) for 13 years. His last two season have been spent at Anderson University as an assistant coach.
Heady takes over for Mark Galloway, who resigned after a hazing scandal was uncovered this spring. The Greyhounds are a power in most athletic fields and would like to regain their once-prominent basketball status.
Carmel lost several seniors from last year's 15-7 squad but returns highly-touted junior center A.J. Hammons.