4A Lafayette Regional: HSE, Carroll Advance to Finals

Rich Torres
PBR Indiana Correspondent

LAFAYETTE – Hamilton Southeastern senior Michael Dillon tossed a no-hitter and the Class 4A No. 20 Royals used a 14-hit barrage to run-rule Fort Wayne South Side in five innings 14-0 during the Regional 2 semifinals at Loeb Stadium.

Dillon, an Xavier commit, struck out eight and walked one to improve to 8-1 on the season. No. 11 Carroll defeated Logansport 12-4 in the second semifinal game to advance into the evening’s regional title game at 8 p.m.

“I was really proud of our kids approach at the plate today,” HSE coach Jeremey Sassanella said. “We knew if Michael could go out and throw strikes that his stuff would be enough to keep them at bay. So it was important to put up runs, not only early, but in the first inning. We battled and went away, go some two-strike hits, all those things we’ve really been working on all week long.”

The Royals offense, which is hitting .289 on the year after entering the postseason with a sub-.280 average, erupted in support of Dillon with a run in the top of the first and nine decisive runs scored over the second and third innings.

HSE (20-8) had five hitters drove in at least two runs and had eight extra-base hits overall, including a solo home run by Cam Bolling in the top of the fourth. The longball was his first of the season. The Royals laced seven doubles and 10 different players recorded a minimum of one hit.

“After the first couple of innings, we realized we needed to get some run support for these pitchers,” HSE first baseman and Akron recruit Greyson Droste said. “We definitely wanted to take some pressure off of them and do it with our bats.”

A four-run top of the second, capped by Droste’s two-run double, pushed the Royals’ lead to 5-0 before HSE sent 10 batters to the plate in the top of the third to jump ahead 11-0.

Jake Huston, Anthony Eggers and Jake Stout each had run-scoring doubles in the third, while Brayton Harrison added an RBI groundout and Jack DeWolf tacked on an RBI single.

The Royals scored six runs in the third behind five hits. HSE posted five combined hits in the top of the fourth and fifth to increase the margin 14-0 over Fort Wayne South (4-14).

“After tonight, there are going to be four teams left. Hopefully, we one of them. The only thing that’s going to hurt us is not being ourselves,” Dillon said. “We have to play our game.”

Dillon retired 10 straight during his bid for a no-hitter and struck out four of the last six batters he faced. Jordan Millikan helped preserve Dillion’s first career no-hitter with a diving stab at shortstop that he collected and fired to first base for the second out in the bottom of the fifth.

“Our mind set was we needed to get amped up, and we need to make a statement. Both teams that we could play are watching, and I know we showed out,” Dillon said. “We have a good crowd and it’s just fun. It’s a good environment and this stadium is awesome. Couldn’t wish for anything else.”

Bolling was 2-for-3 with two RBI, Huston was 1-for-2 with two RBI, Stout went 1-for-2 with two runs scored, Cole DeWael finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a double.

DeWolf had two RBI and went 2-for-3. Eggers was 2-for-3 with two RBI. Droste went 1-for-1 with a double and a walk while getting hit by a pitch.

No. 11 Carroll (23-8) trailed 2-1 after the first inning against Logansport (16-16), but a two-run swing in the top of the second and a seven-run third put the Chargers in command.

Logansport was charged with five field errors. Two unfolded in the top of the third as Carroll used two hits and three hit batters to send 12 hitters to the plate.

The Chargers loaded the bases three times in the top of the third, and they capitalized. Lincoln Lantz drove in a run with a single, which Edwards Branfield followed up with a two-run single. Sabastian Kuhns’ RBI single capped the rally.

Peyton Monnell lined a two-run single in the top of the second to put Carroll up 3-2. Branfield went 2-for-4 with two RBI. Monnell was 3-for-3 with three singles and two RBI.

Jacob Shirk, a junior right-hander, picked up the win for the Chargers, striking out three while limited Logansport to seven hits and five walks. Shirk pitched 6.2 innings before Geoffery Cameron Niedens entered to close out the game.

Shirk allowed two earned run with both Logansport runs in the bottom of the first scoring on a throwing error. Gavin Smith drove in Wil Bennett in the bottom of the fifth. Bennett doubled to open the frame.

Ethan Denny led off the bottom of the fourth with a double before Tucker Platt’s single scored him to cut the deficit 10-3 before the Chargers tacked on two more.