Penn, Elkhart Central Move into Championship Game



By Steve Krah

PBR Indiana Correspondent 

ELKHART — No. 10-ranked Penn and Elkhart Central are the last two teams left standing at the Class 4A Elkhart Sectional baseball tournament. 

Because of rain Friday, there was a tripleheader Saturday at Elkhart Memorial’s Charger Field to determine the matchup in Monday’s 11 a.m. championship game. 

Central won a pair of games in its last at-bat (4-3 against Warsaw in 10 innings and 2-1 against crosstown rival Elkhart Memorial) and Penn held off a late charge (beating Goshen 10-6) to set up the meeting of Northern Indiana Conference members. 

Penn (23-6) will be seeking its 21st sectional title while Central (17-11) will be after its 13th. The Kingsmen topped the Blue Blazers 8-2 during the 2017 regular season. 

“We’re playing our best baseball now and that’s the way we want it,” Central coach Steve Stutsman said. “(Penn) is a good fastball-hitting team so we’ve got to make a decision (about pitching).” 

Elkhart Central 4, Warsaw 3 (10 Inn.)

Warsaw scored an unearned run in the top of the second inning.  

With two outs, senior Luke Baker (who reached base on fielder’s choice) scored from third base on a dropped third strike. 

In the bottom of the third inning, senior Andrew Salmon belted a 3-1 pitch for a three-run home run to left field to put Central ahead 3-1. 

Junior Tayler Holtzinger (single to center) and sophomore Jared Miller (double to left) scored ahead of Salmon. 

Blazers sophomore center fielder Jake Shreiner made a diving catch to take a hit away from Tigers senior hitter Tennant in the fourth inning. 

The Tigers (8-20) tallied two runs in the sixth inning to forge a 3-all tie. 

Back-to-back doubles by senior Alex Miller and Tennant to open the frame produced the first run. 

Sophomore Ian Glovosky (pinch-running for Tennant) scored on a sacrifice fly by Baker. 

Right-hander Tennant (loss; 4-plus innings, 1 run, 3 hits, 1 strikeout, 2 walks) replaced senior right-hander Jordan Jones (5 innings, 3 runs, 5 hits, 1 strikeout, 0 walks) on the mound for Warsaw to open the sixth. 

Salmon picked off a runner for the third out in the top of the seventh. 

The Blazers had a runner thrown out at the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning. 

Senior Ross Kirkton led off the seventh with a single to left, went to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior Derek Deal and on to third base on a wild pitch.  

When senior Jake Dempsey tapped the ball to sophomore third baseman Liam Patton, the Tiger fired to senior catcher Bryce Sensibaugh who tagged Kirkton for the inning’s second out and then Tennant worked out of the jam. 

Jared Miller (win; 3 innings, 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 strikeouts, 0 walks) relieved Salmon (7 innings, 3 runs, 5 hits, 7 strikeouts, 2 walks) on the mound for Central at the start of the eighth. 

Tennant picked off a runner at first base for the second out in the Blazers eighth. 

Warsaw catcher Sensibaugh threw out a would-be Central base stealer for the second out in the 10th. 

The Blazers won it in the bottom of the 10th inning. 

Deal socked a lead-off double to left, moved to third on Holtzinger’s bunt and scored the game-winner on Jared Miller’s single to left. 

Warsaw topped Central 9-8 during a regular-season game Monday, May 22. 

Penn 10, Goshen 6

 

“We made contact and bunched hits together,” Kingsmen coach Greg Dikos said after his team collected 14 hits (all singles).  

Penn scored the game’s first run with two outs in the top of the first inning. 

Senior Trevor Waite led off the stanza with a single to right and later scored on a single to right by senior Nolan Metcalf. 

Goshen (21-9) answered with one two-out run in the bottom of the first inning. 

Senior Michael Pinarski drew two-out walk and later scored on junior Tyler Colpitts’ single to left. 

The third out of the inning came when junior Robbie Riegsecker (who reached base by single to right) was thrown out at the plate on a pick-off play — shortstop Niko Kavadas to catcher Metcalf. 

The Kingsmen took a 2-1 lead with an unearned run in the top of the second inning. 

Freshman Ryan Lynch led off with a single to right, stole second base and scored when Goshen committed an error on a single to right by senior Ryan Lau.  

Penn took a 4-1 lead with two runs in the third inning. 

Waite singled to right and scored on Metcalf’s sacrifice fly. 

Senior Matt Kominkiewicz singled to center and was later plated by Lynch’s two-out single to left. 

The RedHawks cut the gap to 4-2 with one run in the bottom of the fifth inning. 

With the bases loaded, Pinarski beat out a topped ball between the mound and first base to drive in junior Austin Bontrager (who led off the inning with a walk). 

Pinarski (2/3 innings, 2 runs, 0 hits, 1 strikeout, 2 walks) relieved Colpitts (loss, 9-2; 5 1/3 innings, 8 runs, 13 hits, 0 strikeouts, 0 walks) on the mound for Goshen with one out and runners and second and third in the sixth inning. 

Penn sent 11 batters to plate and tallied six runs with four singles in the sixth in taking a 10-2 lead. 

Junior Nate Lovisa drove in two runs while Waite, Kominkiewicz, Metcalf and sophomore Brock Boynton plated one apiece. 

Goshen scored four two-out runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to slice the game to 10-6. 

After junior Philip Wertz (hit batsman) and senior Charlie Collins (single to left) drove in runs, sophomore right-hander Kegan Hoskins (1 1/3 innings, 0 runs, 4 hits, 2 strikeouts, 1 walk) spelled sophomore left-hander Kameron Koch (win, 7-1; 5 2/3 innings, 6 runs, 7 hits, 4 strikeouts, 3 walks) on the bump for Penn with two outs and the bases loaded. 

“That’s the hardest I’ve seen (Koch) get hit,” Dikos said. “He gets in trouble when he gets it up.  

“I like Goshen’s team. They played us hard and they played smart. I was not comfortable with a 10-6 lead going into that last inning.” 

The RedHawks scored twice more. Pinarski singled to center to knock in junior Will Koshmider (on base with an infield hit). Wertz (hit by pitch) also scored when Pinarski got caught in a rundown. 

Senior right-hander Chase Knoblock (1 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 strikeout, 0 walks) took the mound for Goshen to open the seventh inning. 

After two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Goshen put two runners on base by walk and the Kingsmen went to the bullpen again with Kavadas replacing Hoskins. 

Kavadas faced one batter and induced a game-ending fielder’s choice. 

“Penn is a very talented team,” RedHawks coach Josh Keister said. “They had to play pretty well to beat us today. We came out and played physically, mentally and emotionally really well. They just had one or two more hits, got the momentum in their favor.  

“We could have laid down for them after they extended the lead a little bit. It’s a credit to our guys that they fought back after they put up a big number in the sixth.” 

Elkhart Central 2, Elkhart Memorial 1 

Central scored an unearned run in the second inning off senior left-hander Matt Kloss (loss, 4-3; 6 1/3 innings, 2 runs, 3 hits, 3 strikeouts, 6 walks). 

Senior Hunter Sauserman singled to center, advanced to second then third on a Kirkton sacrifice and Kloss wild pitch and scored on a Charger error. 

 Blazers third baseman Jared Miller’s leaping grab of junior Jordan Siddons’ liner ended the Memorial third inning with the bases loaded. 

Miller (win, 7-2; 3 innings, 1 run, 2 hits, 1 strikeout, 1 walk) relieved Shreiner (4-plus innings, 0 runs, 2 hits, 2 strikeouts, 7 walks) as Central pitcher with one runner aboard and no outs in the fifth inning. 

The Blazers turned an inning-ending double play in the fifth — sophomore shortstop Brycen Sherwood to junior first baseman Jared Reid. 

A one-out single to center by senior Sam Wruble in the top of the sixth was Memorial’s first hit of the contest.  

In a game where they left 11 runners, the Chargers (13-14) loaded the bases with one out and the bases loaded and came up empty.  

“That’s the ball game in a nutshell — hitting the runners in scoring position,” Memorial coach Scott Rost said. “We had numerous opportunities to score. To their credit, they made the plays.” 

Central first baseman Reid snagged a line drive off the bat of junior Braden Baer for the second out and Jared Miller fielded a come-backer from junior Nolan Grose and threw to Reid for the third out. 

Siddon’s two-out single up the middle drove Kloss (on by error) with the game-tying run for Memorial in the top of the seventh. 

With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the seventh, Shreiner delivered a game-winning single right field to drive in junior pinch-runner Adam Moon (running for Dempsey after he walked).