The IHSBCA #2 Fishers Tigers Varsity Baseball team (29-7 / 15-3) defeated the Cathedral Irish 4-3 at Victory Field on Friday night to claim the school’s 1st State Championship in Baseball. The Tigers and the Irish were tied at #1 in the IHSBCA Preseason Poll, so it was fitting for the 2 schools to face each other in the championship game.
The Irish struck first scoring an unearned run in the bottom of the 1st. After a 1 out walk, the Irish runner stole second base, advanced to 3rd on a throwing error from catcher Kiel Brenczewski, and continued home on the same play when centerfielder JJ Woolwine over threw third base.
Like they have done all year, the Tigers immediately answered back with 3 runs in the top of the 2nd. All 3 runs scored with 2 outs. With 1 out, Matthew Wolff singled to centerfield. After the 2nd out, Nick Lukac and Jack Roudebush worked back-to-back walks to load the bases and bring Ben Burton to the plate. Burton battled and fouled off several pitches before driving a 2-out, full count 2-run double down the left field line bringing the large Tiger crowd cheering to their feet. Woolwine followed on the very next pitch with an RBI single to right field to score Roudebush and give the Tigers a 3-1 lead.
The Irish added another run in the 4th without a hit to cut the Tigers lead to 3-2, but the Tigers responded right back with another 2-out run in the 5th. Grant Richardson started the inning with a 2-out double to left. Brenczewski, Wolff, and Alex Jamieson worked back-to-back-to-back walks to increase the lead to 4-2. Jamieson’s RBI walk increased his team leading and school record RBI total to 41.
Starting pitcher Luke Albright was brilliant on the mound. Albright had a no hitter through 4 innings retiring 12 of the first 14 batters. The only 2 batters he did not retire reached base by a walk and both runners scored. The Irish finally got to Albright in the 5th inning scoring a run on 2 singles and a walk to cut the Tiger lead to 4-3.
Albright returned to the mound in the 6th inning, but was relieved by Richardson with 1 out and 2 runners on base. After a wild pitch put runners at 2nd and 3rd, Richardson continued his post-season dramatics by striking out the first batter he faced. An Irish walk loaded the bases with 2 outs, but Richardson again brought the Tiger faithful cheering to their feet as he struck out the next batter leaving the bases loaded.
With a 4-3 lead, Richardson struck out the first batter in the 7th. The next Irish batter was hit by a pitch and the following batter was walked on 4 pitches to put the tying run on 2nd and the winning run on 1st with 1 out. Richardson then induced an infield fly against one of the best hitters in the state for the 2nd out. The next Irish batter hit an 0-1 pitch into shallow centerfield that saw shortstop Craig Yoho racing back to try and catch it before Woolwine came racing in from centerfield, called Yoho off, caught the final out, and began the Tiger State Championship celebration.
Albright (9-2) earned the victory on the mound throwing 5.1 innings, while striking out 3 and allowing 2 earned runs on 3 hits. Richardson earned his 2nd save of the season recording the final 5 outs, including 3 strikeouts.
Wolff was on base all 4 plate appearances finishing with a double, single, 2 walks, 2 stolen bases, and a run scored. Burton delivered the huge 2-run double, Richardson had a double, and Woolwine had an RBI single to round out the Tigers 5 hits.
The Tigers finished the season 29-7 winning both the HCC and the Sectional for the 2nd year in a row and their 1st State Championship in the 12th year of the program.
After the game, senior Matthew Wolff was awarded the LV Phillips Mental Attitude Award for Class 4A Baseball, a tremendous honor for an outstanding young man.