1A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP: Washington Township blanks Shakamak

Steve Krah
PBR Indiana Correspondent

INDIANAPOLIS — Randy Roberts watched his Washington Township Senators get what the veteran head baseball coach that his team deserved: A state championship.

“This is what we’re supposed to do,” said Roberts after Washington Township defeated Shakamak 6-0 IHSAA Class 1A state championship baseball game Monday, June 21 at Victory Field. “It’s like graduating from high school. You’re supposed to do it.”

The Senators (27-7) beat the Jeremy Yeryar-coached Lakers (17-8) behind the one-hit hitting of senior left-hander Steven Hernandez (8-3) and earned the first state team title in any sport in school history.

Washington Township was 1A state runner-up in 2019. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic took away the 2020 season.

Shakamak was looking for its third state title, having won in 2008 and 2014. The Lakers were also state runners-up in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2012 and 2015.

The Hernandez brothers — seniors Steven and James — were the only Senators who played in the 2019 State Finals for the Senators.

“I had a huge struggle whether to start Steven or James (on the mound),” said Roberts. “They both wanted the ball.

“When you’re playing the biggest game of your life and you want the ball that badly I went with Steven."

“I told James we had the best of both worlds. Either Steven will take it all the way or you’ll come it in and you’ll bring it home.“Any coach that has a kid that has that tiger or wolverine in him (like Steven Hernandez) is a lucky coach.”

Hernandez finished with four strikeouts and one walk. He finished with 82 pitches (52 for strikeouts).

“Off-speed for sure,” said Hernandez of his plan of attack against the aggressive Shakamak lineup.

Hernandez sandwiched a pair of groundouts around a strikeout in putting Shakamak down in order in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Senior Logan Curran’s two-out two-run single to center drove in Steven Hernandez and senior Colin Majda with the Senators’ final runs in the top of the seventh.

Shakamak broke up Steven Hernandez’s no-hit bid with a two-out single to right in the sixth inning.
Hernandez coaxed a groundout, pop-put and racked up a strikeout against the other three Laker batters.

Washington Township faced three right-handed pitchers — senior starter Peyton Yeryar (10-4) and senior reliever Buddy Stone and freshman reliever Jaxon Cox — and tallied three runs in the sixth inning for a 4-0 lead.

Steven Hernandez drew a lead-off walk from  Peyton Yeryar and Stone replaced Yeryar on the mound for Shakamak.

Majda then reached on an error and both Hernandez and Majda moved up a base on a wild pitch.

Sophomore James Kirk cracked a1-2 pitch deep to left that knocked in Hernandnez and Majda.

Sophomore Michael Spicer (running for Kirk) later scored on a wild pitch.

The Lakers produced a baserunner in the fifth inning, but did not get past first base.

Senior Brevon Fulford led off a reached on an error. The next three hitters were retired by Steven Hernandez. The second out was a line drive to junior left fielder Tommy Landry. The Senators scored the game’s first run in the fifth inning.

With one out, senior Layne Matson was hit by a pitch, stole second and moved to third base on an error.

James Hernandez lofted a sacrifice fly to left field that plated Matson.

Shakamak’s second double play of the game — senior shortstop Ethan Burdette to first baseman Stone — ended the Washington Township fourth.

The Lakers left runners at first and second base in the third inning when senior Logan Burris reached on a one-out walk and Burdette got on by two-out error.

Shakamak snuffed out a Senator rally with an frame-ending double play in the third inning.

Washington Township had the bases loaded with one out following an infield single by Matson, bunt single by James Hernandez and one-out walk by Steven Hernandez.

When Majda popped up a bunt, Lakers pitcher Peyton Yeryar raced in to catch it in front of the plate and fired the sophomore third baseman Brady Yeryar to double off Matson at third base.

“It was a little tense,” said Steven Hernandez.

Hernandez put Shakamak down on six pitches in the bottom of the second.

The first two pitches resulted in a pop-out and groundout. That was followed by a four-pitch strikeout.

After Kirk walked to open the Senator second, Peyton Yeryar retired three straight hitters with two fly-outs and a strikeout.

The Lakers went down in order in the bottom of the first inning against Steven Hernandnez with an infield pop-up, strikeout and outfield fly-out.

Washington Township left a runner at second base in a scoreless top of the first inning.

James Hernandez smacked a lead-off single to left field and stole second base, but got no further.

The second out was a diving catch by Shakamak center fielder Fulford to take a hit away from Steven Hernandez and a pop-foul to junior catcher Oscar Pegg in front of the Senators dugout.

Washington Township senior Bretin Boettcher was recognized as the Robert Gardner Mental Attiude Award winner.