3A Sectional 25: Lebanon and Frankfort Advance to Championship Game

By Ben Grossberg

PBR Indiana

CRAWFORDSVILLE – Sectional 25 on Thursday featured four of the top 3A teams in the state, with all four teams being ranked in the top 10 at some point during the season.

Lebanon Wins Back and Forth Game with Crawfordsville

The opening game on Thursday had all the makings of a pitcher’s duel, but didn’t quite turn out that way. Lebanon started ace sophomore RHP Reid Schaller against Crawfordsville senior RHP Garrett Phelps.

Lebanon jumped out to an early lead with three runs in the bottom of the first inning. Isaac Harker doubled in the first run with a ball that landed just inside the first base line. Two batters later with the bases loaded Nathan Kincaid doubled into the gap scoring two more runs.

Crawfordsville would respond with runs in each of their next three at bats. Sophomore Dane Baldwin got his second hit of the game, an RBI single scoring the Athenians first run of the inning. Crawfordsville would tie the game in the top of the third after taking advantage of back to back two out errors with the bases loaded bringing in two runs. In the fourth the Athenians grabbed their first lead of the game. Freshman Caden Jones drew a two out walk and Michael Minks followed with a towering two run homerun off of the scoreboard in left field.

Lebanon answered back scoring in each of the next two innings. With two outs and runners on second and third in the fourth, Brantley Fortner came through with a clutch two run single. In the fifth Jackson Bennett singled in a run to break the tie putting Lebanon up 6-5. Lebanon would get two more runs in the inning, the first came on an error by the shortstop that would have ended the inning and a wild pitch brought in another run giving Lebanon an 8-5 advantage after the fifth.

Crawfordsville answered back with two runs in the top of the sixth.  With the bases loaded Sam Page singled bringing in a run. On the hit Jones got in a rundown between second and third allowing Nick Page to score from third making the game 8-7.

In the seventh Crawfordsville had their 7-8-9 batters coming to the plate. Lebanon’s Jackson Bennett made quick work of the inning setting the Crawfordsville hitters down in order to close out the game and advance Lebanon to the sectional championship game on Monday.

Leo Lopez Tosses Three Hit Shutout to Put Frankfort in Champ Game

Leo Lopez was the story of the second semifinal game on Thursday. Frankfort’s junior righty shut down host North Montgomery’s offense. The righty throws from several different arms slots and can throw multiple pitches from each slot, he sat 86-87 from a low ¾ slot with his fastball and 82-85 from a side arm slot.

In the bottom of the first Lopez gave up a two out double to North Montgomery's Maverick Bacon, but got the next batter to hit into an out to end the threat. Lopez wouldn’t allow another hit until the sixth inning, at one point retiring 10 straight batters.

In the top of the second Frankfort’s offense gave Lopez all the support he would need with a five run outburst. Diego Santos and Chris Stuard hit back to back one out RBI singles to give Frankfort a 2-0 advantage. An error brought in the third run of the game while a wild pitch pushed the Frankfort lead to four Jose Valdes would add one more run with a sac fly.

In the third Frankfort looked like they would open the game up even more getting two runners on with one out, but Jordan Lewis came on in relief and got the next two batters out to end the threat.

In the sixth North Montgomery looked like they might break through getting two runners on with two outs, but Lopez got the next batter to pop up in the infield to end the threat.

In the seventh Lopez worked around a one out single getting back to back fielder’s choices to end the game advancing Frankfort to the Sectional 25 Championship Game. Lopez picked up the win allowing three hits, two walks, while striking out six.

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