TERRE HAUTE —
Host Terre Haute South kept its Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference high school baseball title hopes alive — and clinched no worse than second place in the process — by downing Lawrence North 4-1 in the first game of a doubleheader Friday night.
The second game, which started after Senior Night festivities between games, ended past the Tribune-Star deadline.
A second-game win would mean South and Center Grove would share the MIC championship with 11-3 records. Every other conference team has at least five losses.
“It’s a big deal,” said Preston Tofaute, one of the feted seniors and one of the first-game heroes. “The MIC is a great conference; to finish on top would be a great thing for our senior year.”
Two more South seniors, Cody Brock and Pete Lannoo, combined for a five-hit pitching performance, but the graduates-to-be got a lot of help from one of their freshmen too.
Leadoff batter Justin Jenkins started both run-scoring innings for the Braves by drawing walks — he saw 18 pitches in his first three at-bats — and scoring after some alert baserunning.
In the bottom of the third, with the Braves trailing 1-0, he enabled his team to get a run without a hit. Jared Wolfe bunted him to second, he took third on a wild pitch and he scored on a sacrifice fly by Jacob Johnson.
In the bottom of the fifth he walked again, stole second and got to third on a ball in the dirt that wasn’t more than a yard away from the Wildcat catcher. Johnson then drew a walk of his own, and Tofaute came to the plate with one out and runners at the corners — and immediately got in an 0-and-2 hole.
“Runner on third, less than two out — coach [Kyle] Kraemer has been preaching all year to get the job done [in that situation],” Tofaute said. “[The Wildcat pitcher] threw me two balls, then I got [a really good pitch to hit]. Luckily it went over the fence.”
Tofaute’s three-run blast was all the South pitchers needed.
Kraemer had already planned to use both in the first game, their final tuneups before sectional play next week.
“Cody kept us in the ballgame,” Kraemer said. “He got us to the sixth, and then Pete came in and did a good job.”
Brock escaped a bases-loaded situation in the top of the second with a two-out lineout, but then Lawrence North’s John Scheil hit the first pitch of the third inning over the fence for a 1-0 Wildcat lead.
The next two Wildcats followed with a single and a drive that Jenkins hauled in near the center-field fence. With the runner on his way from first base, however, the next batter hit a soft liner that Wolfe ran down in left-center, and his strong throw to first was in time to retire the runner trying to get back for a double play.
“That home run rattled [Brock] a little bit,” Kraemer noted, but after the double play Brock retired six of the seven batters he faced the next two innings — allowing one infield hit — and Lannoo got the last six out in a row in relief.
TH South 4, Lawrence North 1
Lawrence North (AB-R-H-RBI) — Madden 2b 3-0-0-0, Scheil cf 3-1-2-1, Gray dh 3-0-2-0, Leffert p 0-0-0-0, Dalton p 0-0-0-0, Boles 1b 3-0-0-0, Taylor rf 3-0-0-0, Brown lf 2-0-0-0, Watson ss 3-0-0-0, Reed 3b 3-0-1-0, Johnson c 2-0-0-0. Totals 25-1-5-1.
Terre Haute South (AB-R-H-RBI) — Jenkins cf 2-2-0-0, Wolfe lf 2-0-0-0, Johnson ss 0-1-0-1, P.Tofaute c 2-1-1-3, Lannoo 1b-p 3-0-2-0, Streeter pr 0-0-0-0, Slover rf 3-0-0-0, Clinkenbeard dh 3-0-0-0, Higgins 2b-pr 0-0-0-0, Brock p-1b 3-0-1-0, Shipley 3b 2-0-0-0, Herrin ph 1-0-0-0. Totals 21-4-4-4.
Lawrence North 001 000 0 — 1
Terre Haute South 001 030 x — 4
E — Brock, Boles, Reed. DP — THS 1. LOB — LN 5, THS 7. 2B — Brock. HR — Scheil, P.Tofaute (5). SB — Wolfe, Scheil, Jenkins, Higgins. SH — Wolfe. SF — Johnson.
Lawrence North IP H R ER W K
Leffert (L) 5 4 4 4 6 5
Dalton 1 0 0 0 0 0
Terre Haute South IP H R ER W K
Brock (W, 4-2) 5 5 1 1 2 5
Lannoo (Sv 1) 2 0 0 0 0 3
WP — Leffert 4. PB — Johnson. T — 1:48.
Next — Terre Haute South plays at 10 a.m. today at Northview.