Baseball: Joe Dougherty leads Morgan Twp. to breakthrough sectional championship win
By Candace Buckner Post-Tribune correspondent May 26, 2012 11:26PM
Updated: July 3, 2012 11:31AM
VALPARAISO — Overheard in the Morgan Township dugout on Saturday afternoon was an exuberant cheer that had waited all season to be heard. “Third time’s a charm!”
Morgan defeated Washington Township 8-4 in the Class 1A sectional championship game, breaking a four-year losing streak to its rival that included a pair of losses this season.
Junior pitcher Joe Dougherty dropped to his knees after the final out, expressing the relief of finally beating the Senators and their pitcher, Justin Langrebe. Twice this season, Dougherty and Langrebe matched up on the mound, with Washington coming out on top — including last Monday’s PCC Tournament championship game. But on Saturday, Dougherty threw all seven innings and struck out seven batters for the sectional victory.
“It’s a great feeling,” Dougherty said. “After that final out, I just heard everybody screaming. I can’t really explain it.”
Morgan (22-5) supported Dougherty by giving him three early runs. In the third inning, junior Austin Porter smacked a fly ball that the Washington right fielder lost in the sky. Then, senior Mark Ehrstein followed that with a two-run double by slicing one down the first-base line to score Porter.
“To set the tone right there, that was huge,” Morgan coach Jason Dorshorst said. “Especially with these guys, when we get a couple early they definitely loosen up.”
The rowdy and loud Morgan dugout only settled down a bit in the bottom of the first, when Washington leadoff hitter Greg Fadell smacked Dougherty’s second pitch of the game over the right field fence.
Fadell added a two-run double in the second to tie the game, but Dougherty helped himself in the third with a bases-loaded, two-run single to break the tie and send Morgan to its first sectional title in four years.