Trey Bedwell and Patrick Green made sure their respective high school baseball teams would meet for the championship of the Class A Shakamak Sectional by pitching shutouts in semifinal contests Monday afternoon.
That championship game won’t be completed until 7 p.m. today. Play was halted in the bottom of the first inning Monday night.
In at least five of his seven innings Monday, Bedwell’s performance as Union stopped Eminence 4-0 was the better of the two, even though Green got his first career no-hitter as Shakamak downed White River Valley 10-0 in the second game. The Lakers’ ace would probably agree.
“I didn’t have my best stuff today,” Green said after his six-inning gem. “[When that happens] I’ve got to hit my spots, keep it down and keep [the hitters] off-balance … my breaking pitches were working.”
“He wasn’t throwing the ball as hard as he usually does today,” agreed coach Chip Sweet — surprised to learn Green hadn’t had no-hitters earlier in his career. “He mixed his pitches better than he has been. He pitched to contact and we made plays for him.”
Keeping the ball down was probably the biggest key for Green on Monday, because the Lakers were hitting the ball in the air all day — and with a considerable wind behind them.
Kyler Fulford led off the bottom of the first inning by lifting a two-strike pitch that carried beyond the left-field fence, and Shakamak later got solo flies from Brodie Crowe — his first of the season, another surprising stat — and Christian Burris.
“We don’t usually hit the ball in the air,” Sweet said. “But if you’re going to put some in the air, today was a good day to do it.”
When it was suggested to him that his first-inning drive had looked like a popup off the bat, Fulford said, “That’s what I was thinking too. There was a strong breeze, and I got it high enough to get it over [the fence].”
“That was a really huge at-bat for us,” Sweet said of Fulford’s homer. “[White River Valley starter Ethan] Sparks has had a lot of experience, and we knew he wouldn’t be easy to deal with.”
The Lakers added an unearned run later in the first inning, although Sparks escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam without further damage. The home team added at least a run in every other inning but one, however, and ended the game early with a sixth-inning rally that included an error and back-to-back-to-back doubles by Brett Yeryar, Crowe and Burris.
Green walked two and hit a batter, but the Lakers turned a double play behind him in the second inning and Fulford thwarted the Wolverines’ only threat in the sixth.
An error and the hit batter put two runners on with one out and Andrew Hamilton hit a soft liner to right-center that looked like his team’s first hit. Fulford raced in and caught the ball while going to his knees, however.
“[Green] came up to me [after that play] and said ‘Thank you, I needed that,’ ” Fulford said.
Bedwell, who gave up only a leadoff double in the bottom of the first to Bobby Moore of the Eels, also got some defensive help when he needed it.
In the first inning, both Moore and an Eminence batter who walked tried to steal bases and were thrown out by Union catcher Michael Christy. Over the next four innings, Bedwell allowed just one baserunner — on an error — and had nine strikeouts.
Union had scored in the top of the first when Matt Snead singled, stole second and advanced the next two bases on a grounder and a passed ball. The Bulldogs also scored in the second on a hit by Raylee Mesey, a two-out error and a run-scoring infield hit by Sterling Langley.
Heading into the bottom of the sixth, then, Bedwell seemed to be cruising — only to walk the bottom two hitters in the Eminence batting order to start the inning. Moore, the only Eminence batter to make consistent contact all day, ripped a line drive but left fielder Jared Reynolds robbed him with a running, back-handed, knee-high catch.
Bedwell then retired the remaining five batters without incident, and his team gave him some insurance runs in the top of the seventh on two walks, a bunt single and two wild pitches.
“[Bedwell] had one little bump there,” coach Todd Gambill of the Bulldogs said after the game, “but his left fielder picked him up with a really good catch … we didn’t hit very well, but we were able to scratch out a couple runs and get a little bit of a lead.”
Asked if the burly Reynolds was often a defensive hero, Gambill said, “If he gets to them, he catches them. He doesn’t have a whole lot of range, but he lumbered over and made a good catch today.”
Brett Yeryar retired three straight Union batters in the top of the first inning Monday night, and the Lakers had two on with none out when the rain increased.
Although one attempt was made to uncover the field and play again, the rain resumed in earnest at that point, quickly making the field unplayable.
Union 4, Eminence 0
UNION (AB-R-H-RBI) — Langley cf 4-1-2-1, Snead 1b 4-1-1-0, Bedwell p 2-0-0-0, Secrest ss 3-0-0-0, Reynolds lf 4-0-0-0, Mesey dh 4-1-1-0, Inman 3b 0-0-0-0, Figg 2b 2-0-0-0, Todd rf 3-0-0-0, Christy c 1-1-0-0. Totals 27-4-4-1.
EMINENCE (AB-R-H-RBI) — Moore 2b 3-0-1-0, Smith p-ss 3-0-0-0, Haymond ss-p 2-0-0-0, Ringler 1b 3-0-0-0, Decker 3b 3-0-0-0, Johnson c 3-0-0-0, Szalay cf 2-0-0-0, Bredlow rf 1-0-0-0, Thrasher lf 1-0-0-0. Totals 21-0-1-0.
Union 110 000 2 — 4
Eminence 000 000 0 — 0
E — Moore, Secrest, Johnson 2. LOB — Union 8, Eminence 3. 2B — Moore. SB — Snead 2, Secrest, Bedwell, Christy, Langley. CS — Moore, Haymond. SH — Figg.
Union IP H R ER BB SO
Bedwell (W) 7 1 0 0 3 11
Eminence IP H R ER BB SO
Smith (L) 4 3 2 0 3 6
Haymond 3 1 2 2 2 9
WP — Smith 2, Haymond 2. PB — Johnson. T — 1:54.
Shakamak 10, White River Valley 0
WRV (AB-R-H-RBI) — Cornelius ss 3-0-0-0, Hill c 2-0-0-0, Miller ph 1-0-0-0, Fisher 2b-1b 3-0-0-0, Boram 3b 1-0-0-0, Delph dh 2-0-0-0, Reel rf 0-0-0-0, Sparks p 2-0-0-0, Carpenter 1b 1-0-0-0, Jor.English 2b 0-0-0-0, Hamilton cf 2-0-0-0, Frye lf 1-0-0-0. Totals 18-0-0-0.
SHAKAMAK (AB-R-H-RBI) — Fulford rf 4-1-2-1, Collins c 4-2-1-0, Green p 3-1-1-0, Padgett pr 0-0-0-0, Bre.Yeryar ss 4-1-2-2, Crowe 3b 4-2-2-3, Burris 1b 3-1-3-2, Bra.Yeryar 2b 2-1-0-0, Sweet cf 3-0-1-0, Cox lf 2-1-0-0. Totals 29-10-12.
White River Valley 000 000 — 0
Shakamak 211 024 — 10
One out when game ended.
E — Reel, Collins, Hill, Hamilton. DP — Shakamak 1. LOB — WRV 3, Shakamak 7. 2B — Fulford, Bre.Yeryar, Crowe, Burris. HR — Fulford (3), Crowe (1), Burris (5). SB — Bra.Yeryar, Sweet.
White River Valley IP H R ER BB SO
Sparks (L) 5 1/3 12 10 7 3 6
Shakamak IP H R ER BB SO
Green (W, 8-1) 6 0 0 0 2 9
HBP — by Sparks (Cox), by Green (Jor.English). Bk — Sparks. T — 1:39.
Next — Shakamak (24-4) and Union (5-13) resume play at 7 p.m. today for the championship. Eminence finished 6-10-1, White River Valley 8-13.º