NEWTON — As the old sports adage goes, it is difficult to defeat the same team three times in any given season — and the Lawrenceville Indians discovered that first hand Thursday thanks …
NEWTON — As the old sports adage goes, it is difficult to defeat the same team three times in any given season — and the Lawrenceville Indians discovered that first hand Thursday thanks to the Paris Tiger baseball team.
The Tigers took the saying to heart Thursday night under the lights at Newton as they faced the Lawrenceville Indians in the IHSA Class 2A Regional. After falling to the Indians in a non-conference game on March 30 by the score of 9-6, and then losing on their home field in a Little Illini Conference game 10-8 on May 9, the Tigers avenged both losses with a 6-5 win in eight innings. Lawrenceville ends their season with an 18-8 record while the Tigers improve to 16-15.
Paris face the Newton Eagles on their home field for the regional title today at 10 a.m. The Eagles dominated the Tigers back on May 1 by the score of 14-2. For those making the trip to watch the game, admission is $5 as required by the IHSA.
As was the case in the previous two meetings, the Tigers fell behind early. Lawrenceville scored a pair of runs without the baseball ever leaving the infield in the bottom of the first inning. They added another run in the second to grab a 3-0 lead after two innings.
Meanwhile, the Tigers went down in order in each of these innings. Paris did not have a player reach base until the third inning when Ty King belted his first home run of the season over the wall in left field to cut the lead to 3-1.
After a pair of rocky innings to start, senior pitcher Kody Crampton settled in and shut the potent Indian offense down. At the same time, the Tiger offense found their footing against a pitcher who previously shut them down.
Ethan Curl led things off in the top of the fourth with a double into the left field corner. Sebastian Daugherty, who leads the Tigers with 30 RBIs on the year, followed that hit with a single to left to put runners at the corners with nobody out. After flying out deep to center in his first at-bat, freshman designated hitter Sean Dunn singled sharply to center to score Curl and cut the lead to 3-2. Reed Stuck laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to put runners at second and third. King came through once again with an RBI groundout to tie the score at 3-3.
As the Tiger offense was finding its footing, Crampton was busy shutting the Indians down on the mound. The Tiger hurler retired 16 batters in a row between the third and seventh innings. In the top of the eighth inning, Stuck led things off with a single just inside the third base bag. King followed up by reaching on an infield hit to put two on with nobody out. Landen Englum grounded to second for what appeared to be a rally-busting double play, but the Indians bobbled the ball allowing all runners to advance and load the bases with just one away.
Stuck scored on the very next pitch as the ball got away from the Lawrenceville catcher.
King tried to do the same thing as the ball bounced away once again. This time, the Indians were able to cut the runner at the plate.
Brady Crippes was hit by a pitch and promptly stole second to put runners at second and third with two away. It appeared as though Lawrenceville would escape the inning only giving up one run, but Chance Lehman came through with a hard-hit grounder through the right side to bring home two huge insurance runs.
With his pitch count climbing towards the limit allowed by the IHSA (115 pitches in post-season play), Crampton ran into his first trouble since back in the second inning. The top of the Lawrenceville lineup had given the Tigers fits throughout their first two games and they were due up in the eighth inning.
A leadoff single and a walk brought the tying run to the plate with nobody out. A wild pitch allowed the runners to advance to second and third. A fielder’s choice groundout brought home a run to cut the Tiger lead to 6-4 with two outs and a runner at third.
Facing his final batter of the game, Crampton surrendered an RBI single to cut the lead to 6-5 with the potential winning run coming to the plate. After throwing a gem of a game and tossing 116 pitches, Coach Creighton Tarr went to his bullpen to close out the game. Freshman Gabe Roush got the call and entered the contest in the highest stress moment of his young career. After walking the first batter he faced, Roush settled in and retired the final batter via the strikeout to end the game.
Crampton pitched the game of his life going 7.2 innings after it appeared that he would not make it past the second inning. He allowed five runs, three earned, on just four hits. He walked four batters and struck out six to earn his sixth win of the season. Roush got the final out to earn the save, allowing a walk to go along with a game-ending strike out.
King had a huge day at the plate from the eighth spot in the lineup. The sophomore had three hits including a
solo home run and a pair of singles to go along with two RBIs. Englum, Crippes, and Daugherty all had a pair of singles with Curl adding a double. Lehman only had one hit, but he made it count with a pair of RBIs in the eighth inning. Dunn put together four good plate appearances, ending up with a single and an RBI. Stuck had a key single and scored the tie-breaking run in the eighth.
PARIS 4, OPH 1
The Paris Tiger baseball team opened postseason play Monday hosting Oblong-Palestine-Hutsonville in the IHSA Class 2A regional quarterfinals.
In what could only be described as their best all-around game of the season, the Tigers, seeded 7th, defeated the 11th seed OPH 4-1 to advance to the semifinals Thursday against Lawrenceville. OPH finishes with a 4-16 mark.
One thing that has been missing this season for the Tigers is the inability of their starters to go deep into games. That was certainly not the case on Monday as Chance Lehman tied a school-record that has stood since 1984. More on that in a minute.
Paris got the scoring started in the bottom of the second inning as Sebastian Daugherty led things off with a single to center. He came all the way around to score on an RBI double off the bat of Sean Dunn to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. This run came on the heels of Lehman tossing an immaculate inning in the top of the second. He faced three batters and struck all three out on nine straight strikes.
In the third, the Tigers created a little breathing room adding a pair of runs. Brady Crippes started things off with a walk, advancing to second on a wild pitch and to third on a groundout. Ethan Curl delivered an RBI double to left making it 2-0. Dunn once again came through with an RBI single to score Curl with the third run of the game.
That would be more than enough for Lehman, who allowed his only run in the next inning via a leadoff home run. After giving up the run, the Lewis & Clark-bound pitcher struck out the side to end the inning.
The Tigers added an insurance run in the sixth as Ty King drew a one-out walk, stole second and scored on a single from Landen Englum.
Back to the pitching performance by Lehman. The senior struck out 17 batters, tying Chuck Whitington, in his complete game masterpiece. He needed just 95 pitches to get through all seven innings in his longest outing of the season. Lehman has been limited over the last month with a lingering shoulder issue but was able to brush that aside for his second win of the season. He allowed just one run on three hits while walking two. Of the 21 outs recorded, 17 were retired via the strikeout, three batters flew out and one runner was caught stealing. OPH did not hit a ground ball to the infield the entire game.
Offensively, the day belonged to freshman designated hitter Sean Dunn. He had a double, a single and a pair or RBIs to lead the way for the Tigers. Crippes and Curl each had a double, with Curl also recording an RBI. Lehman, Daugherty, Stuck and Englum each had a single with Englum adding an RBI.