Roncalli Beats Lawrence Central 10-8 to Win Marion County Baseball Title
May 13, 2011By Rich Torres of VYPE MAGAZINE - Central Indiana
The Roncalli Rebels had a game plan and wasted no time executing it Thursday night against one of the state's top pitching prospects.
Scoring nine runs through the first three innings and charging six earned runs to Lawrence Central ace Christian Montgomery, the Rebels slugged their way to a 10-8 victory and the program's first Marion County baseball tournament title since 2003.
"We knew it was going to be a dogfight. We knew there were going to be a lot of runs scored if we came out and played the way we did," said Roncalli coach Keith Hatfield after his team upset Class 4A No. 8 Lawrence Central at Victory Field. "We knew we were going to have to jump on him early
and that was our game plan. It just happened to work out."
Earlier this season, the Rebels lost to the Bears 7-1 with Montgomery on the mound. This time was different as Roncalli's explosive bats came to life in the top of the first inning, scoring five runs.
"The first game credit to him because we were very close to taking a lead on him. We left the bases loaded one time, had guys on second and third. We were just a couple big hits away. He got through it," Hatfield said. "Tonight, we just stayed on it and took the exact same approach as we did the first time. We were able to come through with big hits."
Roncalli's lineup combined for 10 hits and five extra-base hits in the game. Montgomery, who is ranked as a top 100 prospect by Baseball America, was chased after two-plus innings of work, walking four and surrendering four hits. It was Montgomery's second shaky performance in the
tournament. The 6-foot-2 right-hander was charged with five earned runs against Ben Davis in the semifinals, but the Bears offense charged back to win 13-5.
In the championship game, however, Roncalli's Alex Ritchie and Ryan Parrott each had RBI-triples in the first inning, and Joey Mulinaro cleared the bases with a big double in the first.
"Two-outs, 0-2 and he stayed on a slider," Hatfield said. "That was big."
Similar to the semifinals Lawrence Central (16-4) rallied back to cut the lead to 5-4 in the bottom of the first. The Rebels (13-4-1) went ahead 9-4 in the top of the third, but once again the Bears trimmed the deficit to 9-6 with a two-run bottom half.
"I knew they were going to keep fighting. That's a credit to coach (Dan) Roman and his guys," Hatfield said. "But credit our guys, too. When they answered the bell after our good first inning, our guys could have questioned themselves. They answered the call."
In the bottom of the seventh, the Bears refused to go quietly, scoring two runs as they attempted to erase a four-run Roncalli lead.
A Montgomery sacrifice fly and a Brandon Wind one-out RBI-single put the Bears in position to strike, but following a brief conference on the mound with Ronalli's Alex Simpson, a 6-4-3 double play sealed the victory.
"He just gave me a break. I knew we could do it," said Simpson, who pitched six innings, surrendering six hits and striking out three. "I know my team is behind me no matter what. We were able to roll up that double play at the end to finish it."
The title was the team's first since the Rebels defeated Lawrence Central 15-0 in Hatfield's senior year. The former Roncalli first baseman relished the moment as his team celebrated with trophy in hand.
"The first time since my senior year; It's great for the school. These kids have worked so hard the past few months. I'm very proud of them," Hatfield said. "Coaching a county championship and all that goes into it, all the hard work that these kids do for me and Roncalli is awesome."