Prep Baseball Report

Brebeuf Rallies to Win County; Ashe Russell's No-Hitter Gives Cathedral City Title

By Pete Cava

PBR Indiana Correspondent  

INDIANAPOLIS – Victory Field was the setting for Saturday's Marion County and Indianapolis City championships.

The doubleheader kicked off with the Class 3A No. 3 Brebeuf Jesuit Braves taking on the North Central Panthers.  The 4A  No. 3 Cathedral Irish met the Bishop Chatard Trojans in the nightcap.

The first game began under cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 50s, with a slight breeze blowing in from left field. 

The winds had picked up by the time the second contest got underway, with a possibility of showers in the forecast.

County Championship – Brebeuf Jesuit 5, North Central 3:  Ben Powell had three hits and moved from right field to the mound for the save as the Braves defeated the scrappy Panthers for the Marion County title.  .

Eric Petruzzi put Brebeuf Jesuit on top with a fifth-inning three-bagger and Spencer Martin pitched five and two-third innings to earn the win as Brebeuf went on to claim its 15th consecutive victory.

The Braves (18-3) took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Adam Iffert reached base on a drag bunt, stole second, and came home on Ben Powell's double to the left-center field gap.

North Central (11-11) pulled ahead in the top of the third after loading the bases against Martin.  Lance Howard led off and was hit by a pitch, followed by singles by Roman Baisa and Gui Earlywine.  When Brian Butchee dumped a single to center, the Panthers were up 2-1.  

North Central starter Alan Lozer worked his way out of a bases-full jam in the home half of the third.  Iffert started the frame with a double and took third on Powell's single to left.  After a walk to Nick Chambers, Lozer fanned Petruzzi for the first out.  Marshall Farren followed with a dribbler back to the mound, which Lozer snared and tossed to Earlywine to force Iffert at the plate.  The threat ended with Tyler Holt's sharp liner to third baseman Lance Howard.  

Lozer's defense bailed him out in the bottom of the fourth.  Clay Farren doubled with two out, and took off for home when Iffert followed with a hit to center.  But Baisa, the Panthers center fielder, charged in and scooped up the ball, and then fired a strike to the plate that nailed Farren. 

Brebeuf batted round in the bottom of the fifth to score four runs.  The frame opened with Powell's two-base hit down the left field line.  Chambers followed with a bunt single, with Powell staying at second.  Both runners scored on Petruzzi's booming triple to left.

"It was fastball," Petruzzi said.  "He left it up there a little bit high.  I was going up there looking for a fastball and I put a good swing on it.  It felt like the game changed right there."

Petruzzi rode home on Marshall Farren's hit, and George Henss relieved Lozer.  Henss's first pitch was in the dirt for a wild pitch that sent Farren to second while Petruzzi held at third.  Two batters later, Petruzzi scored on Jake Scott's sac fly and the Braves had a 5-2 lead. 

With two out in the top of the sixth, Martin nicked Howard with a pitch and gave way to Powell.   Baisa greeted the right-hander with an infield hit, but second baseman Jake Scott made a diving catch just behind the bag to rob Earlywine of a single.    

North Central scored its final run in the top of the seventh on a fielder's choice.

Powell, who went 3-for-4 and got the final four outs for the save, downplayed his heroics.  "I was just trying to do it for the team," he said.  "Everyone had a huge role today.  Everyone had hits and threw the ball well."

"We've been working for it all year.  It's our first goal.  During preseason, we said we wanted to win County, and we did it as a team."

The time of game was one hour, 49 minutes.  

North Central  0  0  2     0  0  0     1  -  3   10   1

Brebeuf Jesuit 1  0  0     0  4  0     x  -  5   14   3 

City Championship – Cathedral 10, Bishop Chatard 0 (6 innings):  Ashe Russell had a perfect day at the plate, but was even better on the mound as the Irish cruised past the Trojans for the City crown.

Russell went two-for two with a sacrifice bunt and smacked a triple that gave Cathedral its first two runs.  

On the mound, the lanky junior right-hander notched nine strikeouts and pitched a no-hitter that ended with two out in the bottom of the sixth on the ten-run rule.  Only two batters reached base for Chatard (15-10), both on second-inning walks.  

"The four-seam fastball on the outside corner was working well, where I really hit my spots today," said Russell.  "And the curve ball was catching them off-guard."

Cathedral (20-3) touched Bishop Chatard right-hander Nick Casey for three runs in the bottom of the fourth.  With one away, Adam Neal and Evan Whigham stroked back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners.  Russell then drove a 2-2 delivery to right field for a triple, and came home on a throwing error.  

The Irish chased Casey with one out in the bottom of the fifth after singles by Andy Krull and Pete LaMagna put runners at the corners.  Left-hander Noah Wischnowski came in from left field for Chatard and gave up a single to Alex Boos that scored Krull.  LaMagna went to third on the play and came in on an errant pickoff attempt.  Boos took third on the play and scored on Neal's sacrifice fly.

Cathedral closed out the contest with four more in the bottom of the sixth.  Krull's single drove in a pair, Harry Shipley had an RBI double and LaMagna added a sac fly.  The one-hour, 28 minute contest ended when Shipley waltzed in on Boos’s ground ball base hit that skipped under the glove of third baseman Sam Thornton 

Russell gave credit to his shortstop, Harry Shipley, for preserving Saturday's no-no.  "What saved me was his backhand throw over to first," Russell said of Shipley's snag of a hard-hit grounder by Spencer Antos in the fifth.  Shipley capped off the play with a bullet throw to first that ended the frame. 

Russell said the no-hitter was his fourth at Cathedral.  "Me and Will Birch, we combined for a perfect game last year.  I had a no-hitter against Scecina last year in City here, and another no-hitter against Scecina last year."

Along with Russell, the Irish had six players with two hits each:  Shipley, LaMagna, Boos, Whigham and Krull.  Boos and Shipley contributed two RBI apiece.  

"Ashe has been doing a lot of work in the cages with coach (Brad) Henke, coach (Ryan) Davis and coach (Pat Coffey), and I think it paid off today," said Irish coach Rich Andriole.  "It was nice to see that carry over from practice today."   

Bishop Chatard           0   0   0    0   0    0   -     0     0    2

Cathedral                    0   0   0    3   3    4   -   10   14    0

Brebeuf Banter:  Second-year Braves coach Jeff Scott gives his seniors credit for his team's success this season.  “They've been tremendous leaders for us,” Scott said.  “It's been one of those groups of kids where, as a coach, you just stay out of their way and let 'em play.  They've been a pretty relentless bunch all year, a very loose bunch.  They're very confident. We were very fortunate to get them all back this year.”

“They understand the expectations, the drill work, everything that goes on in our program.  They have a good understanding and they've just gone out and played baseball.  And they've had a lot of fun.  That's the key to our season, I think – that the kids have had fun.  They're very confident, and they're together – probably one of the best teams I've ever coached when it comes to camaraderie, all the way down to our bench kids.  We don't have any moaning and groaning within our clubhouse at all.  They really are a cohesive bunch, and that's been a pleasure for me, to sit back and watch.

Braves senior catcher Hunter Hale is the brother of Notre Dame sophomore RHP Connor Hale.  The Hales formed Brebeuf's battery in the 2012 IHSAA Class 3A title game at Victory Field.

Scott said four of his players will play college baseball next year – Ben Powell (Butler), IF Nick Chambers (Emory), IF-P Tyler Holt (DePauw) and OF Eric Petruzzi (St. Regis, Denver).

North Central Notes:   Before the game, Phil McIntyre expressed optimism about the rest of the Panthers' season.  We're playing really well right now,” said McIntyre.  “We've got the sectional draw on Tuesday.  The group that we have is a young group.  We lost 11 seniors last year.  We're peaking at the right time, with Roman Baisa being our leader as a senior.  We've got a young pitching staff. 

“It's been an up-and-down year, but it's been a good year with these kids, because they've learned a lot along the way.  I'm excited about the next couple of weeks.”    

Panthers sophomore right-hander Alan Lozer's is the brother of University of Michigan freshman RHP Mac Lozer.  A year ago, Mac started the County championship contest for North Central.  The 2013 contest, scheduled for Victory Field, was postponed due to rain and played at Franklin Central High School.

Freshman left fielder Roy Thurman is the nephew of Gary Thurman, a major league outfielder from 1987-1997.  Gary, a first-round draft pick out of North Central in 1983, is currently the minor league outfield/baserunning coordinator for the Washington Nationals.   

Panther college commits include Baisa, who's headed to Ball State, and Danville Community College signees Earlywine, a catcher, and shortstop Butchee.  

Trojan Talk:  Bishop Chatard skipper coach Mike Harmon believes the rest of his team's season depends on pitching.  "We struggled with consistency on the mound.  That's been our biggest thing all year," he said.  "We've played solid defense, our pitching's been up and down.

"When we throw strikes and get ahead, we have a good shot to win games.  If not, we've had some long outings, also."

Harmon said senior IF-RHP Sam Thornton will play for Cedarville University in Ohio next fall.    

Cathedral Chatter:  The Irish made it to last year's IHSAA 4A championship contest, and coach Rich Andriole is hoping for another post-season run.  "We have the state tournament draw coming up this week," he said, "and we're going to stay focused on trying to put some momentum together toward the end of the season and start playing as consistently as possible. 

"Sectionals are right around the corner, literally, and it's going to be a very competitive sectional.  So we're just trying to fine-tune here in the next five games, and close out the regular season and make sure we're focusing on good habits, and ready for sectionals."