INDIANAPOLIS — It’s not often a high school baseball team on the short end of a 12-2 score can legitimately lament wasted chances and missed opportunities, but Shakamak endured that unfortunate situation Saturday afternoon at Victory Field. If former Arizona Cardinals football coach Dennis Green had been there, he could have paraphrased his most famous rant: “You let ‘em off the hook.” And coach Chip Sweet of the Lakers would have agreed. Top-ranked Lafayette Central Catholic won its fourth straight Class A state championship and fifth in the last six years — Shakamak interrupted in 2008 — by putting together a tie-breaking nine-run rally in the top of the fifth inning Saturday. But the Knights were extremely fortunate the score was tied at that point, and the Lakers contributed to their own demise to help the big rally get started. “When someone looks at the score, they’ll think we got hammered,” Sweet said after the game. “But we put pressure on [the Knights].” And could have put on even more. Shakamak hadn’t been to Victory Field since its championship season, so every Laker was playing there for the first time — and several Knights for the fourth time. Shakamak’s start, understandably, was a little shaky. “We let the surroundings get to us a little bit,” sophomore Brett Yeryar admitted after the game. LCC got an unearned run in the top of the first inning on a leadoff single by Austin Munn, a passed ball, a ground out and a sacrifice fly. The Knights could have had more in the second inning after getting two hits and two walks, but Laker catcher Dylan Collins threw out one runner trying to advance on a ball in the dirt and Patrick Green struck out Munn — the Knights’ only strikeout of the game, as it turned out — with two out and the bases loaded. Then it was the Lakers’ turn. Yeryar laced a sharp single to center with one out in the bottom of the second, Luke Sweet walked and sophomore Christian Burris followed with probably the longest hit of his life. A .214 batter entering the game, with no home runs to his credit, Burris jumped on the first pitch he saw from Munn and launched a drive that one-hopped the fence between the 418 sign in left-center and the 405 mark in straightaway center, both runners scoring easily. The 400-foot blast, a homer in every other park he’ll play in, was “pretty much” the longest of his life, Burris said after the game. “I didn’t watch it, I was too busy running,” he added. “At that point, I thought we could win it, big-time. I thought we could’ve been state champions.” The next two Lakers couldn’t drive Burris home, and the Knights tied the score in the top of the third on a leadoff walk, a hit and a sacrifice fly. But the Shakamak hitters weren’t finished with Munn. Brock Dowell led off the third inning with an infield hit, Collins walked and Green hit a one-hop smash off Munn’s glove. The ball trickled into short right field but Dowell, who had held up at third, didn’t realize that in time to score. That proved to be a big play when Munn got out of the bases-loaded, no-outs jam with a strikeout and a double-play grounder. The Knights went out one-two-three in the top of the fourth, though, and Munn yielded three walks and threw a wild pitch in the bottom of the inning. One of the Lakers was picked off base, however, and that threat was wasted too. “Brock didn’t see me waving him in, and then we got the runner picked off the next inning,” Sweet said afterward. “We had [Munn] on the ropes at the time; a timely hit in there would’ve made a huge difference. “We should’ve gone into the fifth with the lead, a minimum [lead] of 3-2. Then [the Knights are] starting to feel a little pressure.” Instead, Munn led off the LCC fifth with a walk and Nick Stone blooped a ball down the right-field line that fell for a double. Green induced what looked like a harmless popup down the third-base line, but three Laker defenders were unable make a play and the ball landed a foot in fair territory for an RBI single. Andrew Hubertz followed with a seeing-eye single to drive in one run, LCC’s other runners moving to second and third on the fairly close play at home, and Jake Churchill doubled through the Lakers’ pulled-in infield for two more runs. “We miss those opportunities, and then we start the fifth with a walk,” Sweet noted later. “They get a duck snort [the bloop double], that ball falls in down the left-field line … that opened the floodgates, and sometimes it’s hard to get the bleeding stopped.” The Knights wound up with eight hits in the inning, including a pair of long extra-base blows later, and added four more hits for their final run in the sixth. “It’s definitely disappointing,” Dowell said after the game — and after winning the L.V. Phillips Mental Attitude Award for Class A baseball. “This wasn’t the ending we wanted. [The Knights] came here and did what they needed to do … but I couldn’t fault our effort. I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to go out with.” “LCC is a great ballclub,” said fellow senior Robert Fowler. “We didn’t have enough hits and we didn’t make enough plays.” “This is a bitter taste, but I’m glad we made it here,” said Yeryar. “We battled hard, and I feel we deserved to be here. It wasn’t the greatest of outcomes, but we got some experience and we hope to be back soon.” “That taste in my mouth is going to push me to come back again,” Burris agreed. “We can come back and win it next year.” “It’s really been a special year,” Sweet said. “We felt [at the beginning of the year] we were going to be better, and then the young kids got some confidence, our hitting started coming around … the kids are hurting right now, but at this age they’re resilient. Are they disappointed a little bit? They might be, but I know before long they’ll be really proud of what they accomplished.” “It was a great season, with a lot of great times,” said Fowler. “We had a great group of guys and great coaches. “[Being part of this team] helps me persevere,” maybe the team’s most improved player continued. “I learned a lot from each coach, each in his own way. They taught me an unbelievable amount of knowledge.”
- High School
Game’s the same, no matter park’s name
Maybe they should play this at Valle Field. It’s called Terre Haute Boys & Girls Club Park now, but the venerable ballpark was the site of some classic high school baseball regional games in the 1970s when coach Don Jennings and Terre Haute North’s local dynasty fought off stiff challenges from the best the rest of the Wabash Valley had to offer.
Ex-Brave Johnson happy to welcome back ex-Patriots
When recent Terre Haute South graduate Jacob Johnson watched his baseball counterparts from Terre Haute North march through the IHSAA state tournament to the Class 4A title game against Noblesville last month, he had mixed emotions.
North wrestling club performs well at Disney World
Several athletes from the Terre Haute North wrestling club fared well this week in the AAU Scholastic Duals National Championships at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World.
Collett named first-team All-State in Class 4A
T.J. Collett led Terre Haute North to the Class 4A state championship game at Victory Field.
The sophomore catcher was rewarded as a first-team All-State selection by the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association. Collett hit 17 home runs with a .536 batting average this spring.
Tribune-Star Spring Sports Athletes of the Year: Hard-working sluggers
It’s not a challenge to figure out one of the things the two players chosen as the Tribune-Star’s Athletes of the Year for high school spring sports have in common. Both Cheyenne Thompson of Marshall and T.J. Collett of Terre Haute North make the ballparks they play in look way too small.
Gold surprises Black 35-12 in WVFCA All-Star Game
A dozen players from Terre Haute North were hoping that Saturday night’s Wabash Valley Football Coaches Association All-Star Game at Memorial Stadium would put a fitting exclamation point on their historic 2013 high school season.
But there were four other smaller schools in the Valley that also had excellent seasons, and Brian Oliver drafted all of them.
“I’m a coach at a small school,” said the Linton coach, whose first year resulted in an Indiana Class A semistate appearance and earned him the right to be an all-star coach opposite North’s Chris Barrett, “and I picked [Casey, North Vermillion and North Central, among others] because I know how much heart those schools play with.
“I knew those kids would come out tonight and give me everything they had, and they did,” he continued after a 35-12 victory by a Gold squad that had probably been considered an underdog.
Fireworks likely: Plenty of offense expected in tonight’s All-Star Game
Predicting the offensive attack for the Black Division in tonight’s 10th annual Wabash Valley Football Coaches Association All-Star Game shouldn’t be difficult.
Metro: ISU’s Wise starts out well in USATF championships
Indiana State sprinter Katie Wise advanced to the semifinals of the women’s 100 meters as she ran 11.42 seconds in the opening heat of the event Thursday evening at the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships.
TH North puts 12 players in WVFCA All-Star football game
The third week in June has become an unofficial reunion for members of the Wabash Valley Football Coaches Association, who make their way to Indiana State’s Memorial Stadium to swap stories and coach — officially or unofficially — the two all-star teams for the Saturday game.
Terre Haute North has taken the concept one step further this week, however.
North wrestlers set for big AAU meet
Sixteen members of the Terre Haute North AAU wrestling team — coached by Luke Register, Mark Frisz and John DeLisle — will leave today for Orlando, Fla., to compete in the Scholastic National Duals meet at the ESPN Wild World of Sports Complex on the Walt Disney World Resort property.
Sweet season: Shakamak wins Class A baseball title
Shakamak baseball wins the IHSAA Class A state baseball championship.
Rockville philosophical about championship game defeat
Rockville philosophical about championship game defeat
North's Turner departs Patriots after title game loss
Terre Haute North coach Shawn Turner will leave his head coaching and teaching job to join McCutcheon's staff.
Just a little short: TH North strands 10 runners while losing in Class 4A state title game
Pitching depth came into more play than one might have expected Friday night in the Indiana Class 4A baseball state championship game, and that’s what Noblesville had in abundance.
It's go time for North, Rockville and Shakamak
Terre Haute North, Rockville and Shakamak will be playing for high school baseball state championships this weekend, the Patriots at 7:30 p.m. today against Noblesville for the Class 4A title and the Rox and Lakers against each other at 1 p.m. Saturday in the Class A final.
Rockville gets its first Victory Field shot in Class A title game
Rockville's talent runs deep as it plays in its first Class A baseball championship game.
Thompson leaves big legacy in TH swimming
Jeff Thompson, of Terre Haute South and the Terre Haute Torpedoes, has taken the head coaching position at Germantown Academy in Pennsylvania.
The final inning: Close-knit Terre Haute North seniors hope long journey winds up with a state title
Most of them have been close enough to a state baseball championship already to decide that close just isn’t good enough anymore. But the lessons they learned and the bonds they formed in those previous tournaments are among the reasons why Terre Haute North’s nine seniors are looking forward to Friday night’s Class 4A high school state championship game with excitement and optimism.
This time, Shakamak coach is really retiring
This isn’t the first time that a story has been written about the retirement of Chip Sweet as Shakamak High School’s baseball coach.
Sullivan 12th heading into today’s final round of boys golf state finals
It was hot and windy for the start of the IHSAA boys golf state finals Tuesday at The Legends of Indiana Golf Club.
Columbus North was the leader at the conclusion of 18 holes and Sullivan is 12th going into the final round to be played today with tee times beginning at 8 a.m.
Sullivan opens bid for state golf title
Play begins today in the high school boys state golf finals at The Legends of Indiana Golf Club at Franklin.
Prep/Metro roundup: Hambrock named to all-state tennis team
Lauren Hambrock of Terre Haute South was named to the all-state first team on Monday by the Indiana High School Tennis Coaches Association.
IHSAA baseball game times set
Game times set for IHSAA state baseball finals.
Shakamak tops Rivet in pitchers' duel to advance to Victory Field
When your name is Yeryar, Shakamak High School expects great things on the baseball diamond. Vincennes Rivet dodged Brett Yeryar intentionally walking him. But Rivet had to face Braxton and pitch to Tanner and their performances lifted the Lakers to a 1-0 victory and into the Class A state championship game.
Braxton Yeryar pitched a three-hit shutout and Tanner Yeryar singled up the middle in the eighth inning to drive in Kyler Fulford with the game-winning run.
Terre Haute North heading to Victory Field after semistate win
If Terre Haute North becomes the Class 4A state champion a week from now — and who would bet against the Patriots at this point? — there’s one prediction that might be safe: it won’t be a typical, run-of-the-mill high school baseball game that makes it happen.
Rockville to make maiden voyage to Victory Field
Rockville wins the Class A Kokomo baseball semistate.
Rival Castle up next for Patriots
Revenge isn’t the purest of motives, but it’s one that two of the three Wabash Valley high school baseball teams involved in semistate games have in common today. And it could come in handy for Terre Haute North’s Patriots.
IU recruit lights up Kentucky for 41 points in All-Star win
James Blackmon Jr. scored 41 points to lead the Indiana boys All-Star team to a 104-94 win over Kentucky on Friday night.
Sullivan boys, South's Drew Cahill qualify for state golf finals
Sullivan’s team and two players from the area extended their high school boys golf season by two days with their play on the links on Thursday.
The Arrows placed third to qualify for the state finals Tuesday and Wednesday, and Alec Davis of Greencastle and Drew Cahill of Terre Haute South qualified as individuals in the Washington Regional played at Country Oaks in warm, mostly sunny conditions.
Rockville baseball coach wants season to last one week longer
Bob Kyle really hopes his Rockville High School baseball team can win its semistate game Saturday at Kokomo against Washington Township.
Not exactly earth-shaking news, but not exactly the usual reasons either.
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