By KEVIN HARRIS
PLAINFIELD – The Providence Pioneers’ quest to repeat as Class 2A state champions came to an end Saturday afternoon, as they lost 5-1 to No. 3 Indianapolis Ritter in the Class 2A Plainfield Semistate.
The Raiders (27-3) will play Wapahani (19-11) in the Class 2A state championship either next Friday or Saturday at Victory Field in Indianapolis.
The second-ranked Pioneers (28-5) got off to a rough start, allowing Ritter to take a 3-0 lead after one inning.
With two out and runners on first and second base in the bottom of the first, Providence starter Jake Lewis knocked down a line drive off the bat of Raider junior Ben Egenolf. But Lewis threw the ball past Pioneer first baseman Reece Davis, allowing Ritter courtesy runner Joey Gruber to score from second.
The Raiders’ lead grew to 2-0 when third baseman Brian Bacon collected an RBI single to right field. On the play, Providence right fielder Kaden Williams made an errant throw to third. Egenolf responded to the error by coming home for the third score.
Ritter tacked on another run in the bottom of the second. Junior Henry Woodcock led off the frame by drilling a double into the left-center gap off Lewis. Two batters later, Woodcock came home on a two-out single by junior Kyle Price to put the Raiders up 4-0.
The Pioneers’ lone run came in the top of the fourth. Lewis smacked a one-out single to center off Ritter starter Blake Malatestinic. Providence courtesy runner Preston Taylor advanced to second on a wild pitch. Taylor then scored on a base hit by Pioneer shortstop Timmy Borden on a hit-and-run play.
The Raiders got their advantage back to four in the bottom half as Woodcock scored on a two-out passed ball.
Lewis pitched 3 1/3 innings as his record dropped to 9-3. The senior left-hander, who will play at Eastern Kentucky University next season, yielded five runs (one earned) on five hits. He struck out three and walked two.
Davis relieved Lewis in the top of the fourth and pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings. Davis surrendered no hits, struck out four and walked two.
Malatestinic, an Indiana Mr. Baseball candidate, pitched a five-hitter to improve his record to 11-1. The senior right-hander recorded six strikeouts and one walk. The lone run he allowed was earned.
Providence said goodbye to five seniors in Lewis, Parker Graf, Garrett Popp, Juston Betz and Blake Wurm.
Check Southern Indiana Preps in the next few days for a complete recap of Saturday's Class 2A Plainfield Semistate.
CLASS 2A PLAINFIELD SEMISTATE
INDIANAPOLIS RITTER 5, PROVIDENCE 1
Providence 000 100 0-1 5 2
Ritter 310 100 x-5 5 1
W – Blake Malatestinic (11-1). L – Jake Lewis (9-3). 2B – Henry Woodcock (R).
Records – Providence 28-5, Ritter 27-3.