Sat May 19, 2012
By Trace Fowler
CENTERVILLE- Elder and Northmont faced off in district final doubleheader at Booster Park in Centerville. Joe Ramstetter would take the ball for Elder, and Alex Crabtree took the honors for Northmont.
Northmont began the scoring affair in the top half of the second with a two out RBI single by Keegan Rottgen, and a Panther throwing error allowed two runs to cross.
Elder answered in the bottom half with a sacrafice fly by Tyler Trame scoring Jimmy White narrowing the lead 2-1.
Junior Tom Stoffel began Thunderbolt rally once again with a leadoff single. Troy Mangen walked and Tyler Barker loaded the bases with his second base hit of the day.
A fielder choice extended the lead to 3-1. Ramstetter successfully picked off a Thunderbolt runner with the first to third move but a throwing error allowed another run to cross extending the deficit to 4-1.
Crabtree ran into a Panther buzz saw bottom three.
David Haley drove a one out fastball into right center and end up with a triple. Haley later scored on a fielder’s choice and Northmont seemed poised to limit the damage.
But, Elder wasn’t finished.
Jimmy White hit a routine groundball but great hustle from White beat the Thunderbolt throw to first.
Then, the flood gates opened.
The next two consecutive Elder hitters reached base via hit by pitch, loading the bases. Tyler Trame would once again come up big with a two out single scoring two and tying the contest at 4-4.
Another Northmont error loaded the bases, and Dustin Easton came in to relieve Alex Crabtree.
Alex Lind would force a bases loaded walk giving Elder their first lead at 5-4.
Anthony Asalon (University of Indianapolis recruit) stepped to the plate and provided a huge lift for the Panthers.
Asalon laced a line drive double down the left field line, allowing two more runs to score.
With two outs, the Panthers managed to put up a total of five runs before Tom Stoffel relieved Easton and retired the next Panther hitters ending the inning.
But the damage was already done as Elder took a commanding 7-4 lead.
Ryan Wood relieved Ramstetter after a leadoff walk. The Thunderbolts second baseman Keegan Rottgen continued to provide an offensive spark with a single.
Next, a sacrifice bunt turned into a hit and Northmont loaded the bases for Stoffel.
Wood walked Stoffel and the score drew closer at 7-5. Mangen would walk making the score 7-6, and as a result, another pitching change was in line for Elder.
Jake Seaman replaced Wood, but the Elder pitching staff continue to struggle with their command.
Another walk knotted the score at 7-7. Looking for a way out of the inning, Elder received a huge break.
With the Panthers on their heels, Northmont’s Zach Weatherford smashed a ground ball up the middle, but Weatherford’s shot glanced off Seaman’s foot straight to Asalon, and the 1-4-6-3 double play was complete and Northmont’s rally was seized keeping the score tied.
In the top half of inning, Asalon provided another impact play.
The Panthers second baseman was stealing third, and made a heads up play by never slowing down as he rounded third and scored on a infield hit.
The insurance run gave Zack Coon some breathing room as he headed into the seventh. Coon entered the game in the fifth inning and had not allowed a run.
Coon allowed a leadoff walk bringing the tying run to the plate. Ty Bussey put a Northmont comeback within reach as he laced a line drive which bounced off the wall.
Busse, however, missed first base, and as he rounded the bag, he slammed on the breaks to go back and touch the bag, turning a double into a single.
With the game on the line, Elder called on Andrew Crofton to knotch the save and send Elder to the regional semi finals.
Crofton induced a weak ground ball, followed by a deep fly out but the Panther right hander still had to face the highly touted prospect Tom Stoffel.
Stoffel grounded back to the Elder pitcher and the Panthers laid victory to a district championship title.
Elder will play Vandalia Butler at Marge Shott Stadium (UC) on Thursday May 24th, first pitch 5:00 pm.