4A Plymouth Semi-State: Hamilton Southeastern Heading to State Championship

Rich Torres
PBR Indiana Correspondent

PLYMOUTH – The Hamilton Southeastern Royals’ senior aces kept the 19th ranked Mishawaka Cavemen’s bats quiet, while the offense jumped out fast on Saturday evening during the Class 4A Plymouth Semistate championship.

Xavier commit Michael Dillon pitched six-scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts for the Royals, and Ball State recruit Tyler Schweitzer fended off a late Cavemen rally in the bottom of the seventh at Bill Nixon Field to secure a 4-2 win for HSE and its first semistate title in program history.

The No. 20 Royals (22-8) will advance to play No. 6 Columbus East in the state finals at Victory Field on Monday, June 17 at 7:30 p.m.

“I can’t even explain it. We’ve never been to Victory Field before. I haven’t. The whole program hasn’t. It’s going to be fun,” HSE junior center fielder Cole DeWael said. “It’s going to be a life-changing event.”

DeWael and senior Anthony Eggers punched the Royals’ state ticket in the top of the first inning. With Dillon (9-1) on the mound for the Royals, DeWael immediately supported his hurler as he reached base on a four-pitch walk.

Eggers watched one pitched pass by before supplying Dillon with a 2-0 lead after crushing an opposite field home run – his first of his prep career.

“When we came up here and played a doubleheader in early May, he had a really long day. I bet he flew out to the right-field warning track four times in two games. Not balls that were going to go out, but he was trying to lift and do too much against 73 mph,” HSE coach Jeremy Sassanella said. “To see him come in here today and hit that ball over the wall the other way and get us on the board early, a tone setter; it was a special moment.”

DeWael finished the game 2-for-3, and Akron commit Greyson Droste went 1-for-2, reaching base in the top of the sixth after getting hit by a pitch. Jordan Millikan courtesy ran for Droste and later scored on a Mishawaka error.

HSE added their final run with an RBI double by DeWael to score Jake Stout from second base. Stout went 1-for-3. Matt Buckingham was 1-for-3.

“We do a good job of staying inside the baseball, and I’m always working on staying inside. Anthony hit that ball to the opposite field. That’s just a great approach,” Sassanella said. “Not only confidence in each other’s abilities but picking each other up and truly not caring who gets the credit. Just caring that we win. If you can do that as a coach, win, lose or draw that’s an important thing, and in a lot of ways it’s the most important thing.”

It came in handy in the bottom of the seventh as Dillon was relieved by Schweitzer with a 4-0 lead.

Schweitzer racked up two quick outs with a strikeout and later a fielder’s choice putout, but a hit batter put two runners on and the Cavemen strung together consecutive RBI singles.

“They scored two runs rather quickly, and Cole (Graverson) had gotten up relatively early in that inning and was tossing a little bit. He was good to have down there in the bullpen, but thankfully, we didn’t need him,” Sassanella said.

Instead, Schweitzer battled and won a seven-pitch at-bat against Derrick Dawson, getting the junior to swing at strike three.

“I was ready for it, but I didn’t know how prepared I was until that first batter,” Schweitzer said. “In the end, we got the job done, and that’s all that matters.”

Schweitzer struck out two and allowed three of the Cavemen’s three hits without a walk.

“Fastball high. I tried to get him with a 3-2 curveball, but he tipped it,” Schweitzer remarked on his punchout pitch. “I was like, another pitch, here we go, let’s get this one. As long as we get the win, I don’t care what happens.”

Mishawaka’s AJ Rosebush went 1-for-3 with an RBI, and Nicholas Bodle was 1-for-4 with an RBI. Jack Hecklinski finished 1-for-2, and Colin Fee was 1-for-3. The Cavemen’s season ended at 25-7.

“Even under pressure, this team never really folded,” Dillon said. “We are hitting our stride.”