Baseball: Gibson Southern ready for big battle with Andrean
Gibson Southern had two games scheduled April 26.
But the Titans had to play without Dillon Whitten. The team’s ace pitcher was unavailable because of a back injury. His absence was noticeable as Gibson Southern dropped two one-run games: 5-4 to Lawrence Central and 8-7 to Northview.
With four games on the calendar the next week, the Titans could have gone in one of two directions. They rebounded and won all four.
“Kids stepped up,” coach Chris May said in a phone interview earlier this week. “We got good performances out of our third, fourth and fifth pitchers that week, our sixth pitcher, even. That was probably the turning point.”
Gibson Southern has lost just three times after the April 26 setbacks. Whitten returned and has helped pitch the Titans to the Class 3A title game. Gibson Southern plays Andrean in the championship contest Saturday at Victory Field in Indianapolis.
“We are a veteran team,” May said. (The Titans have 10 seniors.) “The kids are pretty confident. We beat a good team in Mt. Vernon in the sectional final (5-1). They have a good pitcher. Batesville is highly talented with their pitcher and we beat them 1-0 (in the Jasper Regional semifinal), which was a big game to get over that hurdle.”
The Titans topped Silver Creek 16-4 in six innings in the regional final, setting up a semistate game against New Palestine.
“New Palestine was a good ball team,” May said. “They got up on us a couple of times. (Whitten) stayed with it, he battled and we found a way to squeak that one out.”
Gibson Southern trailed 5-2 heading into the bottom of the fifth. The Titans scored four runs in the fifth and two more times in the sixth for the 8-5 victory.
“They didn’t let the pressure of the situation get to them,” May said. “We just kept battling for seven innings. I was real proud of them for the way they came back.”
Whitten picked up the win to improve to 9-2. He has a 1.44 ERA. Whitten also is batting .456. Catcher Caleb Wagner has a .378 average with 21 RBI. Shortstop Brooks Martin hit a home run in the semistate game. He has a .327 average with 27 RBI.
The batters are expecting another test Saturday.
“Andrean is a good team,” May said. “We know they are strong. They have good pitchers. (Matt DeSomer) is a good pitcher, a good athlete. We’re expecting a very tough game. We’re just trying to come out, do our best. (We) hope that Dillon is on and he can keep us close and we have to find some ways to score some runs.”