3A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP: Third straight State Finals berth yields title for Southridge

Steve Krah
PBR Indiana Correspondent

INDIANAPOLIS — Southridge was at the IHSAA State Finals for the third straight time.
This go-round, the Raiders left with the trophy.

A 2-0 win against Hanover Central in the Class 3A state championship game Tuesday, June 22 at Victory Field gave the program its first state crown after 2A runner-up finishes in 2018 and 2019.

“I guess it’s good to be 16 and 17 years old,” said Raiders coach Gene Mattingly of the disappointment of missing out on state titles twice. “They don’t hold on to things like that.”
Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic took away the 2020 season.

“We don’t always get what we deserve in this world,” said Mattingly. “We (my players) got what they deserved.

“If we believe we can do it, we will.”

Senior right-hander Ethan Bell (6-3) went the distance as the winning pitcher and also drove in both runs for Southridge (26-7).

“Put a bat on the ball and good things will happen.” said Bell. “This is amazing. This is our last high school game ever (as seniors). I’m so proud of this team.”

Bell threw a two-hitter with eight strikeouts and one walk. He threw 54 of his 76 pitches for strikes. Many of those were first-pitch strikes.

“Getting ahead in the count is the No. 1 thing to me as a pitcher,” said Bell.

Hanover Central (29-4-1) — coached by Ryan Bridges — was also going for its first state championship. The Wildcats finished second in Class 2A in 20111.

Senior left-hander Bret Matthys (9-2) went all six innings on the mound for Hanover Central and finished with 10 strikeouts and four walks (two intentional) and gave up five hits. Of his 89 pitches, 62 were strikes.

Bell struck out the first Hanover Central batter he faced in the top of the seventh inning.

Senior Adam Graham reached on an error and Bell fanned another Wildcat the second out.

An infield out — senior first baseman Sam Semersheim to Bell sealed the win and the title.
Sourthridge threatened but did not score in the sixth.

Junior Carter Whitehead led off with a single to left and moved to second base on senior Quinn Barnett’s sacrifice bunt.

Matthys threw to senior shortstop Blaze Cano to pick off Whitehead for the second out.
The third out was a caught-looking strikeout.

Bell struck out the first two Hanover Central batters in the sixth before senior Jared Comia reached on an error.

A fielder’s choice force at second base ended the threat for Hanover Central.

Southridge scored the game’s first two runs in the fifth.

With two outs, senior Chase Taylor singled to left and was spelled by junior courtesy runner Carson Niehaus.

Senior Colson Montgomery was then intentionally-walked.

Bell followed with a first-pitch double down the left field line that plated Taylor and Montgomery.

“He’s an amazing player and that’s going to show in the (Major League Baseball First-Year Player) Draft,” said Bell. “He’s seen that all year. People were afraid of him.”

On the hill, Bell wrapped two strikeouts around a fly-out in retiring the Wildcats in order in the fifth.
Southridge left a runner at third base against Matthys in a scoreless fourth.

With one out, Whitehead cracked a double to center and stole third base. Matthys fanned the other three batters he saw during the inning, including one of the caught-looking variety for the third out.
Bell retitred all three Hanover Central batters he faced in the fourth with a pop-up, groundout and strikeout.

Matthys got in and out of a bases-loaded jam in the Southridge third.

The first hit of the game for Southridge was a lead-off single up the middle by Semersheim.
After two strikeouts and walks to Taylor and Montgomery (intentional) to fill the bases, Matthys racked up a rally-ending strikeout.

A double play squelched a Wildcat rally in the third.

Senior Stanley Galbreath, who was honored as the L.V. Phillips Mental Attitude Award winner, singled to right to open the frame and junior Gunnar Howes followed with a walk.

With one out, Bell coerced Comia into an inning-ending twin killing — second baseman Hudson Allen to shortstop Montgomery to first baseman Semersheim.

Southridge went down 1-2-3 against Matthys in the second. The first and third outs were strikeouts (looking and swinging) and the second was a groundout.

Bell retired Hanover Central in order in the second with two fly-outs and a caught-looking strikeout.
Southridge sent four batters against Matthys in the first.

Taylor drew a one-out walk and courtesy runner Niehaus was wiped out on a force play. The third out was a groundout.

The Wildcats left a runner at first base in the first inning. Comia lashed a one-out single to center.

The three outs against Bell were groundouts and a fly to the warning track by Matthys.