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Cebulla comes to West Lafayette baseball's rescue against Jeff
May 13, 2012Lafayette Jefferson High School
West Lafayette’s Brandon Cebulla has nothing against the Red Devils’ Bob Friend Field, but given his choice, he would pitch in Loeb Stadium every time.
On a Friday night when Class 3A’s No. 8 WL and rival Lafayette Jeff combined for 21 hits, the right-handed Cebulla gave the Red Devils the eventual advantage with three perfect innings of relief in an 8-5 victory.
In April, Cebulla (5-0) pitched a three-hit shutout against Crawfordsville in Loeb Stadium during the annual Joe Heath Classic. He may have been even better this time, striking out three and allowing only two balls to be hit out of the infield.
West Lafayette (18-5) broke a 5-5 tie in the top of the seventh, scoring on RBI hits by Parker Ronchetto, Brahm Bea and Brian Ghiselli against Bronchos sophomore reliever Austin Albrecht.
“I have no idea what it is about Loeb, but I guess it’s just the environment,” Cebulla said of the venue Lafayette Jeff calls home and where the Colt World Series is staged each August. “It’s just a good place to play. I love coming here.
“Just everything was working for me. I was controlling my fastball and hitting my spots. My curveball is breaking a lot. Everything was working. It was a great day of pitching. I was confident, and it was good to know that my teammates had confidence behind me.”
Jeff (9-14) led 1-0 before West Lafayette scored three times in the top of the third against Broncho starter Sam Russell. Jeff cut it to 3-2 in the bottom of the third before WL stretched its advantage to 5-2 in the fourth. The Bronchos tied it at 5 in their half of the fourth, including Peter Ripke’s two-out, two-run single.
West Lafayette coach Joel Strode said Cebulla has emerged as a valuable pitcher behind Nick Moody and Ghiselli, who work the bulk of the Red Devils’ Hoosier Conference games.
“He is a guy coming into the year that was just going to get a few innings, and then that first weekend here at Loeb, he pitched really well against Crawfordsville and beat them,” Strode said. “Now, all of a sudden, he has five wins for us.
Jeff coach Scott McTagertt liked his team’s aggressive approach at the plate but credited Cebulla for stopping the momentum the Bronchos captured in the fourth.
“The thing that really works in his favor in that situation is that he throws harder than the guy before him (starter Drew Rudman), so it takes a few innings to get your timing back down,” McTagertt said.
Parker Rhoads, Bea, Ghiselli and Thomas Deranek each had two hits for WL. Keaton Hamilton was 2-for-4 to lead Jeff.