Daleville Catches "Lightning in a Bottle" for First State Championship

Sat June 18, 2016

By Steve Krah
PBR Indiana Correspondent 

INDIANAPOLIS — Daleville High School baseball fans filed into Victory Field Saturday, June 18, donning T-shirts with the slogan “We Are Not Done Yet!” 

A late offensive outburst and steady pitching got the job done for the Broncos as they beat Lanesville 4-0 for the IHSAA Class 1A state championship. 

“The chemistry was just right,” Daleville coach Terry Turner said after his school’s first-ever championship in any sport. “The talent was there and they were willing to be coached. There was never a discipline problem ever. Everything fell into place. 

“We just had lightning in a bottle.” 

In a game pitting two teams making their first State Finals appearance, the Broncos (21-9) got one run in the fourth inning and three in the fifth on the way to besting the Eagles of Lanesville (15-12). 

Junior T.J. Price, Daleville’s No. 3 hitter, broke a scoreless tie when he belted a 3-1 pitch onto the berm in left-center to lead off the Broncos’ half of the fourth inning. 

“As soon as I hit it I knew it was out,” Price said. “That surprised me because all the ones I’ve hit this year (five coming into Saturday), I’ve never known.” 

The frame ended with Eagles junior left fielder Ryan McCubbins sprinting back and taking an extra-base hit away from sophomore Ryan Hale. 

Daleville plated three unearned runs in the fifth inning to take a 4-0 lead. 

Senior Spencer Horsley smacked a one-out single to left and junior Corbin Maddox reached on an error. 

After a double steal and intentional walk to Price to lead the bases, senior Elliott Jackson pulled a 1-0 delivery down he right field line for a three-run triple, pushing his runs batted in total to 28. The error made all three tallies unearned. 

“I knew when they walked me, Elliott was going to come up and do something,” Price said. “He’s our RBI man. That’s all we can ask for is have Elliott up there.” 

Turner put Jackson’s worth into perspective. 

“He’s been our money man all year,” Turner said. “You want to know why we lost nine ball games? He was out for seven of those losses. He’s the reason we are where we’re at.”

Senior right-hander Brandon Vermillion (win, 11-4; 7 innings, 0 runs, 4 hits, 11 strikeouts, 1 walk) went the distance on the mound for Daleville. Besides his crisp 86-pitch outing, the DHS valedictorian was also selected as the L.V. Phillips Mental Attitude Award winner. 

“Brandon is a great pitcher,” Turner said. “He knew what we had to do today and he got the job done.” 

Junior right-hander Brenden Bube (loss, 6-5; 6 innings, 4 runs, 6 hits, 3 strikeouts, 4 walks) started and was the pitcher of record for Lanesville. 

The Eagles — with a rally cry of “#finish” — threatened in the first inning. 

After two straight strikeouts, McCubbins drove a two-out double down the left field line. But Lanesville’s No. 3 hitter was stranded at second base. 

Daleville had its own two-out double in the second inning. Junior Gavin Whitmore stroked the ball just out of the grasp of the right fielder. But Whitmore was left at second base. 

Vermillion struck out the side as Lanesville batted in the bottom of the second inning, bringing his strikeout total to five out of the first six outs (three looking and one a check swing). 

Maddox clubbed a two-out double into the corner in left for Daleville in the top of the third inning. He, too, was left at second base. 

The Eagles left two runners in a scoreless bottom of the third inning. 

Senior Jon Will beat out a one-out bunt single toward third base. Sophomore Greg Daly’s sacrifice bunt toward first base advanced Will to second base. Bube drew an intentional walk. 

But that’s as far as Will or Bube got. 

“We’ve been finding ways to manufacture runs,” Lanesville coach Zach Payne said. “We just didn’t do it today. (Vermillion) made good pitches when he needed to. I give him credit.” 

An inning-ending double play squelched an Eagle rally in the fourth inning. 

With one out, sophomore Mitchell Bailey singled to center (replaced by sophomore pinch-runner Logan Sutherland) and junior Cameron Harvey singled to left. 

“We gave ourselves a chance to stay in the game,” Payne said. “We were disappointed we couldn’t come out on top, but we were one of two teams playing in Class 1A baseball today.” 

The twin killing came with sophomore Noah Jones batting and went from shortstop Price to junior second baseman Whitmore to first baseman Jackson. 

Lanesville went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the fifth inning with two strikeouts. 

Daleville left the bases loaded in a scoreless sixth inning. 

Freshman Peyton Smith popped a two-double between the fielders in short left field and moved to third base on a wild pitch. 

Horsley walked and advanced on another wild pitch and Vermillion walked to load the bases. 

But Bube coaxed an inning-ending groundout to get out of the jam. 

The Eagles went down in order in the sixth inning. 

Right-hander Harvey relieved Bube to open the seventh inning against Daleville hitters. 

After two quick outs, junior Chris Kinnick lashed a single up the middle for the Broncos, but he got no further. Payne said it was the first mound appearance all season for Harvey who was just cleared medically after having Tommy John surgery. 

“We’re counting on him for next year,” Payne said. 

Vermillion retired the Eagles in order in the bottom of the seventh inning. The last out was — fittingly — a strikeout. 

Turner, in his first season at Daleville after 25 at Anderson, described his reaction after the 21st out. 

“All kinds of emotions flooded through,” Turner said. “This is every coach’s dream, every player’s dream. The little boy in me came out. It’s hard to describe.” 

Daleville, winners of the Daleville Sectional, Carroll (Flora) Regional and Plymouth Semistate, ended the season on an eight-game win streak. 

Lanesville saw its second season-long five-game win streak come to an end. The Eagles came into the postseason at 10-11 before winning the Janesville Sectional, Loogootee Regional and Jasper Semistate.