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Carnahan's home run sparks Harrison past Jeff
May 29, 2012Lafayette Jefferson High School
If there’s a next time, Mike Carnahan’s celebration will be subdued.
Moments after belting a three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning of Monday’s 4-3 Class 4A sectional semifinal win over Lafayette Jeff, the senior removed his helmet before crossing home plate.
“I was so fired up,” said Carnahan, whose homer rallied the Raiders from a 3-1 deficit. “I didn’t know what I was doing. I got way too excited. Next time, I’m going to trot around the bases, not say a word and head straight to the dugout.”
The umpires informed both coaches that the first time a player removes his helmet on the base paths each team is issued a warning.
“It happened in Jasper about four years ago,” Bronchos coach Scott McTagertt said. “They threw the kid out, didn’t count the run and the IHSAA overruled it and said it’s a warning and the second kid is ejected.
“My thing was the first kid threw his helmet and then the second kid threw his helmet, so should the second kid be ejected?”
Evan Tislow and Nick Bartolone each produced one-out singles before Carnahan belted his fifth home run of the season off Jeff starter Peter Ripke. Ripke, who threw a five-inning perfect game in Wednesday’s win over Marion, gave up just five hits and struck out six.
Ripke allowed two hits in the first, including an RBI double by Carnahan, but stymied the Raiders until the sixth.
“They got a little bit of emotion behind them and got some things done,” McTagerrt said. “Pete threw a heck of a game. We had opportunities to score runs.”
The Bronchos (12-18) stranded at least one runner in scoring position in four straight innings. Jeff, though, scored twice in the top of the sixth to take a 3-1 lead. Joe House was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Bailey Perdue’s sacrifice fly extended the advantage to two runs.
“We just needed a big hit, a bleeder through there or something like that would‘ve got us going,” McTaggert said.
Carnahan also threw six strong innings, striking out nine, but will be remembered for his big hit.
“I was looking for a fastball,” Carnahan said. “The first pitch, he threw a changeup and I took it. The next one he threw me a fastball right down the middle and I turned on it and got most of it.”
Harrison coach Bryan VanZile said Tislow and Bartolone helped spark the offense in the sixth.
“We were right in the heart of the order where we wanted to be with the kids that have been producing all year,” VanZile said. “It was a great hit, a great battle. We played them tough all year. It’s good to be on the right side of one for a change.”
The Bronchos had beaten the Raiders twice during the regular season.
VanZile said he’ll start left-hander Nick Leuck in tonight’s championship game. Leuck earned his second save of the season after pitching a scoreless seventh against the Bronchos.
Carnahan had thrown around 100 pitches and VanZile knew it was time to bring in Leuck.
“When he gets around 100 pitches, that’s when he seems to labor a little bit,” VanZile said. “It was time to get him out of there