Senior staff writer
In an improbable matchup for a baseball sectional championship Monday night, Franklin Central entered the Whiteland sectional with a five-game losing skid against Greenwood, which had only won six regular-season games.
Franklin Central prevailed for coach John Rockey with his first sectional championship in his final season at the helm with a 10-5 win over the Woodmen. The Flashes reached the finale by defeating Martinsville 6-3 earlier Monday. Greenwood took the long way by upending host Whiteland 4-1 behind pitcher Jordan Martin on May 23 and Franklin with timely hitting from senior Cameron Crick in the semifinal.
“There’s no question our draw helped us, but we came into the sectional with two good pitchers, so I knew we had a chance,” Rockey said. “We thought going in that we were strong on the mound and behind the plate, but we weren’t always solid at the plate.”
Senior pitcher Kameron Leach got the win against the Artesians, and junior hurler Cade Fitzpatrick, who homered in the semifinal, pitched the nightcap and allowed only three hits while striking out 11.
Flashes junior Jared Gillespie drove in two runs with a two-run ground ball in the sixth and capped the win with an RBI triple to right field in the seventh.
“We regained confidence to pull this one out,” Gillespie said. “Our pitching came around and we got clutch hits in both games.”
The Flashes (13-16) scored two runs in the fourth as the Woodmen committed back-to-back fielding errors. Greenwood (8-19) retaliated with three runs in the fifth on a dropped fly ball in right field and T.J. Bass’ RBI drive to left field.
FC broke it open for its first sectional trophy since 2001 with a six-run sixth as the Flashes made 11 trips to the plate.
“We ran into that one inning again that happened during the season when we always struggled,” Greenwood coach Andy Bass said. “These kids could have cashed it in with the kind of season we had. They fought to the end tonight (Monday).”
The Flashes meet No. 6 Jeffersonville in the Evansville Reitz regional at 12:30 p.m. Saturday with No. 11 Columbus East and Castle in the opener; championship game is at 6 p.m.
No. 4 Roncalli won its 14th sectional title Monday with a dominating five-inning 10-0 triumph over host Ben Davis.
Roncalli led 3-0 going into the fifth inning when it scored seven runs. Senior Nick Schnell hit a two-run homer in the fourth. Junior Max Lundy pitched a three-hit shutout.
Winners of 15 straight games, the Rebels (25-5) face rival Cathedral (20-8) Saturday at 11 a.m. in the Decatur Central regional.
Lutheran claimed the Morristown sectional by defeating Southwestern 9-2 Monday. The Saints advanced to the final game by edging Edinburgh 7-4 and dominating Waldron 14-1.
Lutheran (15-10) meets University in the Morristown regional at 10 a.m. Saturday and faces the Hauser-Shakamak winner in the title game at 7 p.m.