By KEVIN HARRIS
INDIANAPOLIS – Lanesville’s year-long redemption mission to return to the IHSAA State Finals and capture the 2017 Class A state championship has ended up as a successful one.
One year after losing the Class A state title game to Daleville 4-0, the eighth-ranked Eagles claimed the long-awaited state crown Saturday at Victory Field by defeating No. 3 Rossville 5-1.
It was Lanesville’s first state championship in any sport. In addition, it was the first state title for a Harrison County school.
“It’s been our goal since we lost last year because we knew we had the potential to come back again. It’s been our No. 1 goal,” Eagles’ starter Cameron Harvey told the IHSAA Champions Network shortly after the game. “As a team, we worked harder than we’ve ever worked before. It’s just a huge accomplishment for us.”
Third-year Lanesville head coach Zach Payne mentioned in his post-game interview with the IHSAA Champions Network that his team handled this year’s state championship contest like any other game during last week’s practices. Payne feels last season’s experience in getting ready for the state finals aided in his players’ mental preparation this time around.
“We didn’t really talk about the feeling of playing at Victory Field all week,” said Payne, a Providence alumnus and former Pioneer assistant coach. “We just talked about playing a baseball game today and it was a huge difference for us.”
Arguably, the most focused Eagle was Harvey.
The 6-foot-4 senior right-hander pitched a three-hitter to complete his record at 9-2, surrendering one earned run. Harvey, a Providence transfer, struck out four and walked two.
After yielding two hits in the bottom of the first inning, Harvey gave up one knock the rest of the way. The Indiana Wesleyan University recruit retired 11 Rossville batters in a row, which was from the final out in the first to the first out of the fifth.
In his four postseason starts, Harvey allowed two earned runs on 11 hits with 37 strikeouts.
A five-run fifth inning by Lanesville (20-6) to give it a 5-0 lead helped Harvey get more comfortable on the mound.
“It’s just such a relief as a pitcher knowing you’ve got support behind you,” Harvey said. “It’s a little bit of a stress reliever on the mound. You don’t have so much pressure on you trying to hold them. If you’re up 5-0 and they score one run, hey that’s one run – it’s not going to hurt you.”
All of the Eagles’ five runs in the top of the fifth came with two outs.
The scoring spurt started with Lanesville’s No. 9 hitter, freshman Isaac Casabella, drawing a walk against Hornet starter Trevor Waggoner.
Casabella advanced to third base on a single to left field by No. 1 batter Greg Daly. That prompted Rossville head coach Brad Scott to relieve Waggoner with sophomore righty Dawson Jacoby.
But Jacoby’s luck versus the Eagles’ lineup was not much better.
Following a stolen base by Daly to put runners at second and third, catcher Evan Peele delivered a two-run base hit to center to put Lanesville up 2-0.
Courtesy runner Ethan Purdy, who substituted for Peele, moved to second on a wild pitch. The Eagles got two on base again when left fielder Ryan McCubbins drew a walk against Jacoby.
The next batter, junior Mitchell Bailey, extended the Lanesville lead to 4-0 when he smacked a double near the warning track in left to plate Purdy and McCubbins. Then Harvey helped his winning effort with an opposite-field single to right to knock in Bailey.
Hornet senior right-hander Matt Homco, who relieved Jacoby following Harvey’s hit, stopped the bleeding by forcing Eagle third baseman Noah Jones to pop out to second.
“We’ve been hitting the ball well with two outs all year. We’re confident with two outs,” Payne said. “The bottom of our lineup has started several two-out rallies for us as well. Our guys never quit. We’re always ready to hit the ball and score some runs, no matter how many outs there are.”
Rossville (24-9) got its lone run in the bottom of the fifth. With the bases loaded and two out, sophomore Mark Soiseth came home from third on a wild pitch by Harvey. The Hornets’ rally concluded, though, when Waggoner grounded out to second. Rossville only got two runners on base in the final two innings.
Lanesville did the ceremonial dogpile on the Victory Field diamond once the game’s final out – a Jacoby groundout to second – was made. While his players celebrated on the field, Payne ran into the stadium’s grandstands to be with some important people in his life.
“I had to go see my dad,” Payne said on Father’s Day weekend. “That guy has pushed me and done a lot for me. I’m so happy that he was able to experience this. And of course, I had to see my new wife.”
Ten Eagle seniors concluded their high school careers as state champions. They were Daly, Harvey, McCubbins, Peele, Tristin Brown, Brenden Bube, Dakota Fonda, Ridge Hess, Tim Oberdieck and Tommy Tidstrom. Bube, a standout player throughout his career at Lanesville, missed most of the 2017 season because of an ACL injury.
Waggoner was the losing pitcher as his record dropped to 11-2. In 4 2/3 innings, he allowed two runs (both earned) on three hits and one walk.
The Eagles will move up to Class 2A next season because of the IHSAA’s success factor rule.
CLASS A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
AT VICTORY FIELD, INDIANAPOLIS
LANESVILLE 5, ROSSVILLE 1
Lanesville 000 050 0-5 6 1
Rossville 000 010 0-1 3 1
W – Cameron Harvey (9-2). L – Trevor Waggoner (11-2). 2B – Ryan McCubbins (L), Mitchell Bailey (L).
Records – Lanesville 20-6, Rossville 24-9.
CLASS A JASPER SEMISTATE
LANESVILLE 6, INDIANAPOLIS LUTHERAN 2
JASPER – Lanesville repeated as semistate champions for the first time in program history on June 10 at Ruxer Field by defeating Indianapolis Lutheran 6-2 in the Class A Jasper Semistate.
Harvey continued his great postseason on the mound. He allowed two runs on one hit in six innings of work. Harvey posted 12 strikeouts and four walks. Bube wrapped up the semistate title by pitching a scoreless seventh inning, giving up one hit and fanning two.
Harvey helped his winning cause at the plate, going 3-for-3 and scoring twice. Lanesville freshman Zach Fink was 2-for-3 with a double, while Bailey wound up 2-for-4.
The Eagles plated two runs in the top of the second to go up 2-0. Fink drove in both runs with a double to right field to plate Bailey and Harvey.
Lanesville added four more runs in the third to extend its advantage to 6-0. The Eagles got three consecutive RBI base hits from Tidstrom, Fink and Casabella, and Peele drew a bases-loaded walk to drive in another run.
CLASS A JASPER SEMISTATE
AT RUXER FIELD
LANESVILLE 6, INDIANAPOLIS LUTHERAN 2
Lanesville 024 000 0-6 9 3
Lutheran 001 001 0-2 2 1
W – Harvey (8-2). L – Matthew Alter. 2B – Zach Fink (La).
Records – Lanesville 19-6, Lutheran 18-8.