Baseball: Boone falls, Hebron wins
By Jeff Manes Post-Tribune correspondent May 26, 2012 11:34PM
Updated: July 3, 2012 11:30AM
VALPARAISO — It will be the Zebras and the Hawks vying for the Class 2A sectional championship on Memorial Day at Boone Grove.
The host Wolves dropped a 2-1 heartbreaker to Rochester, while Hebron pounced on North Judson in a 10-0, five-inning victory.
In the first game, Boone Grove (15-14) drew first blood in the top of the third (the Wolves were deemed the visitors) when ninth-place hitter Zach Cobb looked more like Ty Cobb, missing a homer by an inch to straight-away left. He settled for a double.
Jared Thill followed with a double of his own, a wicked shot down the leftfield line to make it 1-0. The Wolves stranded runners at second and third.
In the top of the fifth, still 1-0, Rochester first baseman Travis Wottring made a spectacular sliding catch into his own dugout with a man in scoring position. Both teams made several defensive gems during the course of the game.
Boone’s starter, Zach Wein, came in with a mediocre 1-3 record put pitched a whale of a game, with a no-hitter going into the fifth inning. But in the fifth, he gave up a couple of singles and with men on first and third, a throw on a steal attempt ended up in center field, tying the game at 1-1.
Rochester took the lead in the sixth thanks to an RBI double by Wottring.
“We faced a very fine pitcher today,” Wottring said. “He just left a nice fastball over the middle of the plate and I did what I could.”
As good as Wein was, Zebras starter Aaron Stuart was even better, going the distance (111 pitches) and fanning 10, including striking out the side in the final inning, the last of which was on a 3-2 curve ball with the tying run at second.
It was a tough loss for coach Rollie Thill and his Wolves; it also was the last high school game for his son.
“It came down to two plays that needed to be executed and we didn’t execute,” Thill said.
In the second game, Hebron (17-8) scored in every inning against North Judson (8-16). Hawks starter Kyle Joyce (4-1) was outstanding, whiffing 10 in five innings for the shutout victory. Though he didn’t need much help, Joyce received a lot of it from teammates Damon Wallace and Kyle Hernandez, who combined for seven hits in seven at bats.
“We came in here today with the mindset of just showing them what we got,” Hernandez said. “We hit really good today. We weren’t going to take those guys light.”
Hernandez and Wallace are two of seven seniors on the team.
“We’re hoping this is the year Hebron can win a baseball sectional; its been 35 years,” Wallace said.