Senior staff writer
Roncalli senior infielder Dylan Williams made two outstanding defensive plays in the final inning to preserve a 5-3 win over Perry Meridian in the Marion County championship baseball game Monday at Victory Field.
Williams almost single-handedly stopped the Falcons’ threat by backpedaling for a difficult catch of Alex Hooten’s drive just beyond second and later went to his knees to stop a drive by Adam Taylor. His two plays came after Perry Meridians Luke Arkins led off with a double.
Roncalli closer Hayden Harper got the strike out for the final out to nail down the Rebels’ fourth county title, the others coming in 2003, ’11 and ’12. Roncalli’s players piled on and afterward Nick Schnell, Luke Kenney and Dominic Brown did backflips.
“I was confident; I went out there to make plays,” said Williams, whose normal position is in the outfield. “I saw the ball in the air each time and made the play. We just needed to be ourselves to get the win.”
Roncalli coach Aaron Kroll admitted that had Williams not made those two plays, the Rebels might not have walked off with the championship trophy.
Senior Harrison Koppenhofer’s two-run, two-out double in the bottom of the sixth inning broke a 3-3 tie. Junior Max Lundy pitched six innings of three-run, four-hit baseball for his fourth win of the season. Harper earned his third save this season.
Leadoff hitter Schnell powered a triple to center field in his first at-bat and scored the Rebels’ first run. After leading off the second with a double, Tommy Hansen scored from third on Harper’s fly ball to right field.
“We believe in our hitters; the guys who are hitting after Schnell have had great seasons,” Kroll said. “Three weeks ago we put him in the leadoff spot and he’s really exploded. We needed something to jump start our offense.”
Perry Meridian scored its three runs in the third on Caden Reed’s drive to center field, which scored Alex Hooten, and Charles Joyce and Alex Morgan came in on Joe Genier’s misplayed fly ball in right field.
The outcome Monday was far different than Roncalli’s 11-1 win over the Falcons earlier this season.
“We’re showing that are not afraid to play anybody,” first-year Falcons coach Jake Banwart said. “We are really starting to compete.”
Roncalli is 19-5 and winners of nine games in a row; the improved Falcons are 8-16.