Lake Central Outduels Roncalli 1-0 For State Crown


With the pitching match-up of McNamara vs. Hawk scheduled for Saturday's 4A State Title game, everyone in attendence knew runs would be at a premium. What we did not know, was that only one run would be sole outcome of the game. Lake Central's game against Roncalli lived up to the hype, as true baseball was on display.
Senior Pitcher Jimmy McNamara has had a storied career for Lake Central; he has been arguably the program's best left handed pitcher of all time. What people don't see often, is his switch. Once it is turned on, any team in the country would take him. Unfortunately for Roncalli, McNamara flipped the switch on Saturday evening.
While McNamara was toeing the rubber for Lake Central, Cincinnati commit Colin Hawk delivered a spectacular performance of his own. The only real trouble, and deciding run, in the game, came in the 3rd inning.
With two outs in the top half of the 3rd, Junior Ryan Burvan (2013) singled to start things off. As Senior Chase Fieldhouse walked, the stage was set for Senior Austen Wagoner with runners on 1st and 2nd and two outs. On the first pitch he saw from Hawk, Wagoner singled sharply up the middle. With Burvan rounding third, there was sure to be a bang-bang play at the play; however, with the throw up the line, the first basemen cut the throw, scoring Burvan. Little did we know that the only run of the game, had just scored.
Hawk threw a complete game, allowing four hits, while striking out four. Unfortunately for him, it happened to be Jimmy McNamara's game. McNamara had a perfect game until the 4th, until he walked Senior Jason Simpkins with one out. Soon after, Senior Joe Ardizzone would hit into a 4-6-3 to end the inning.
Roncalli's first hit would come in the bottom of the 5th, on a bunt single by Senior Jordan Reeser. Reeser would advance to 2nd on a throwing error on the play. Once this happened, Lake Central quickly got Senior Taylor Lehnert (Central Michigan) ready in the bullpen. As it turns out, they never needed him. With two outs in the 5th, a single by Sophomore Aaron Schnell would have scored a run; however, Ryan Pachowitz (2012) made a diving stop at 1st to save a run. A long fly ball to right field ended the threat and Lake Central still leading 1-0 after 5 innings.
Lake Central would not threaten to score again, as only two hits were registered after the Wagoner single (Pachowitz single and an Olund double). McNamara would strike out two in the bottom of the 6th, making it a 1-0 after 6 full innings. Coming into the bottom of the 7th, it seemed academic, Jimmy McNamara induced three ground ball outs, completing the dream season for Lake Central, and winning the 4A State Championship. Final 1-0 Lake Central.
The (Almost) Perfect Season - While living in northwest Indiana, I had the opportunity to cover several of Lake Central's game this season. With two of the top arms in the State, I knew they were going to be good, but I didn't know they would be this good. Given clutch performances from Juniors Nick Kellams and Ryan Burvan all year, on top of steady senior leadership by Chase Fieldhouse, Austen Wagoner and Zach Mantel, this team was special. Finishing 32-1, I happened to cover their only loss this season; however, it may have been the best thing for them. Lake Central truly had an almost perfect season. Congrats to Lake Central and Roncalli on a great final game to wild 4A High School Season.