Northfield Wins State 2A Baseball Title
June 17, 2012By Gary Andrews of Three Rivers Conference
Mission complete. The Northfield baseball team completed their season long mission Saturday at Victory Field in Indianapolis with a 3-2 win over Evansville Mater Dei to win the 2012 2A state baseball title.
After a tournament run that had numerous comeback wins and close encounters, no one expected anything different Saturday in the last game of the year. In 2001 on June 16th the Norse won their first state title and were looking for number two 11 years later to the day.
In front of a huge crowd from Wabash County the Norse were the visitors on the score board and would waste no time letting everyone there know they meant business. Adam Roser led the game off with a single and was sacrificed to second on a bunt from Tanner Chamberlain. Andy Roser hit a sacrifice fly to right center that would have been out of most high school fields to move his brother to third and two pitches later Adam Roser scored on a wild pitch to give the Norse a 1-0 lead. Ryan Keaffaber, looking to tie for second most wins in a season, retired Mater Dei in order in the bottom of the inning.
In the second inning after an Austin Keen ground out, Collin Dawes ripped a shot down the left field line for a double and the Norse were in business again. Dallas Hovey would then punch a bunt for a single that moved Dawes to third. Hovey would then create an Evansville mistake with a delayed steal to second that was over thrown, scoring Dawes and Hovey moved to third. Hunter Wells would then draw a walk to put runners on the corners. The Norse would then attempt a squeeze that ended up with Hovey being thrown out at home. Mater Dei got out of the inning with the Norse leading 2-0. In the bottom of the inning, Adam Roser made a diving back hand stop at third that should be on ESPN, throwing out the runner for the first out. After a Norse error put a runner on, Andy Roser gunned him down at second, followed by a Keaffaber K and the Norse were still up 2-0.
The Norse would go scoreless in the third and fourth, while Keaffaber held Evansville in check and it was still 2-0 heading to the fifth.
The Norse threatened in the fifth. Adam Roser singled with one out and was followed by a perfectly placed Chamberlain bunt and on a wild throw and the Norse had runners on second and third. Andy Roser was then intentionally walked to load the bases and Mater Dei turned a double play to stop the threat. Mater Dei would pick up their first run in the fifth as the Norse played hot potato with the ball. After a single, the Norse had the runner picked off first and in a rundown, but botched the throw to second and the runner advanced to third. The next hitter singled and it was 2-1. Again the Norse attempted a pick off at first with the ball sailing to the outfield and the runner advancing to third with no outs. After a strike out, Mater Dei hit a grounder to third that was scooped by Adam Roser, who fired it home, getting the runner in a run down and being tagged out by Andy Roser. For the third time in the inning a pick off play failed at first with the runner sliding in to second safe. Trying to catch the Norse sleeping the runner broke for third and was tagged out by Adam Roser to get out of the inning still leading 2-1.
In the sixth, Joseph Ross roped a double about 400 feet and was replaced by pinch runner Tanner Wilcox. Austin Keen would then lay down a bunt, beating it out to put runners on first and third. Jared Kirtlan would run for Keen. Collin Dawes would then lay down the squeeze, scoring Wilcox and making it safe to first. Mater Dei would get out of the inning and Northfield led 3-1. Evansville would then strike with a single and a triple to make it 3-2 with a runner on third and no outs. The next batter hit a one hopper to Keaffaber, throwing him out at first without the runner advancing, then Keaffaber took matters in his own hands, striking out the next two and the Norse were an inning away from a state title.
Hitting the ball hard in the seventh, the Norse could not plate a run and it was up to the defense to secure the win. The first Mater Dei hitter drew a walk and then stole second to put the tying run 180 feet away with no outs. Again, a one hopper to Keaffaber got the first out and then it was lights out from there as Keaffaber mowed down the next two for his eighth and ninth strike outs to win the state title 3-2 in exciting fashion.
To cap off the state title, senior Hunter Wells was named the ”mental attitude” award winner.