Arabians, Bulldogs fall in sectional semis


Strong seasons from both the Lapel and Pendleton Heights baseball teams came to an end in last week’s IHSAA Sectional

Both won their opening-round games but fell in close semifinal games.

In Class 2A Sectional 40 at Frankton, the Bulldogs were defeated by Wapahani 6-4, while the Arabians fell 3-0 to Greenfield-Central in Class 4A Sectional 9 at New Palestine.

Pendleton Heights

It had been nearly a full month since Pendleton Heights’ baseball team had seen the pitching of Greenfield-Central senior Landon Brooks.

On April 30 in Pendleton, the Cougar right-hander threw a complete game, striking out five, in a 9-2 G-C victory.

Fast forward to May 25 in a semifinal game of the New Palestine Sectional, Brooks still had the Arabians’ number.

More dominant the second time around, Brooks had little trouble in another complete game victory, a 3-0 shutout. Brooks didn’t let a runner reach scoring position until the sixth inning. He fanned eight and did not walk anyone.

Brooks retired the first five he faced, three by strikeout. After a one-out single by Colin Axel-Adams in the third, the Arabians were back to the top of their order, but Brooks stopped that rally before it started by striking out leadoff hitter Ty Frakes and Mazon Saxon. It was the start of a stretch where he retired eight straight.

While he was doing that, the Cougars were getting on the board with one run each in the third, fourth and fifth innings.

In the third after two outs, Dylan Luther reached on an infield single, but when the throw was errant, he was able to get to second base. Brady Johnson was hit by a pitch and Zander Cobb followed with a bloop single to right field to score Luther with the game’s first run.

In the fourth, G-C opened with back-to-back singles by Owen Zumbolo and Kyle Oden. Gavin Markus laid down a sacrifice bunt to put pinch-runner Nicholas Flench at third and Oden to second. Lucas Sitzman followed by hitting a slow ground ball to the left side, Pendleton Heights went home to try to get Flench, but he slid in safely for a 2-0 Cougar advantage.

In the fifth, Cobb reached on a one-out walk. Kirk Knecht grounded to short to move courtesy runner Gage Handlon to second. He scored on Zumbolo’s single to center field.

It was plenty enough runs for Brooks, who had his only multi-baserunner inning in the sixth.

With one out, Frakes reached on an infield single. With two away, Jordan Williamson had a single to right, but the inning ended with Jackson Grile hitting a grounder to first baseman Oden, who threw to Brooks covering for the final out.

The Arabians went down in order in the seventh.

To get to that game, the Arabians knocked off a team that had beaten them twice in close games during the regular season — Mt. Vernon.

In the regular season series, the Marauders took both games by a score of 2-1. At home, they walked off for a 2-1 victory and on the road at Pendleton Heights scored two in the sixth to escape with the win.

It was only right that the postseason matchup between the two followed suit.

This time, the Arabians took down the Marauders 4-3.

Down 4-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh, Mt. Vernon nearly completed another comeback win over the Arabians.

Gage Blanchard walked to lead off the inning, and two batters later Nathan Criss walked to bring the winning run to the plate with one out.

After a strikeout by Pendleton Heights pitcher Jacob Garner put the Marauders down to their last out, freshman Mason Meyer ripped a single to right field to score Blanchard and advance the tying run to third.

A hard-hit ground ball to shortstop off the bat of Grant Payson ended the game.

All four of the Pendleton Heights runs came in the second inning.

After Mt. Vernon scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the first on sacrifice flies by Meyer and DJ Scheumann, the Arabians answered with a four spot.

A leadoff walk by Jackson Grile set up Clint Miller for his first home run of the season. He launched one over the left-field fence to tie things up.

It was the first home run allowed by Mt. Vernon’s Cam Sullivan all season and was the start of an uncharacteristic inning for the Marauders ace.

Following the home run, Rylan Keesling reached base and advanced to third on an error and was then driven in by a Colton Frank infield single. After another walk by Sullivan, an Axel-Adams single pushed the lead to 4-2.

Sullivan retired the next three batters to limit the damage, but it was all the Arabians would need.

Mt. Vernon had a chance to respond in the bottom half of the inning, but a tough play by the second baseman, Frakes, saved at least one run.

With the bases loaded after three walks, a ground ball off the bat of Criss was gloved and flipped to second base all in one motion by Frakes for the force out to end the threat.

In the third, the Arabians put the first two runners on, but a triple play by Mt. Vernon put an abrupt stop to things. With the momentum seemingly flipped back to the Marauders side, Pendleton Heights starting pitcher Brayden Stevenson retired the next six batters.

He allowed two runs and struck out seven over 5 ⅔ innings of work.

Pendleton Heights ended the season 17-11.


The sectional draw gave Lapel an opening-round matchup against a team that had lost six straight games, 7-12 Muncie Central.

The Bulldogs made it seven in a row with a dominant 19-1 win.

After a quick top of the first, Lapel broke the game wide open with an 11-hit, 13-run first inning in which 18 batters came to the plate. Eli Suchocki drove in four of the 13 runs.

The lone Muncie Burris run came in the third inning on a Beau Edwards triple. He scored after the throw home was dropped.

In the third, the Bulldogs added five more runs and tacked on another in the fourth for the 19-1 win.

As a team, Lapel had 19 hits, with nine different players recording at least one.

Freshman Jaxson Cripe was 3-for-4 with four RBI, Landon Brown and Cody Baker each had three hits and an RBI, and Camden Novak, Darl Gustin and Talan Jarrett all had a pair of hits and RBI. Both of Novak’s hits were triples.

On the mound in the opening round win, Hogan Bair got the start and allowed just one run on three hits while striking out seven. Baker came in and pitched the final inning, walking one and striking out two.

In the semifinal, the No. 8 ranked Bulldogs let an early lead slip away in a 6-4 loss to Wapahani.

Lapel struck first with three runs in the third and added to the lead with another run an inning later.

After a scoreless fifth inning, the Raiders mounted their comeback with two innings remaining.

They scored the last six runs of the game and took the lead for good with a five-run sixth inning.

Two Lapel errors helped the Raiders comeback, and only three of the six runs were earned.

On the mound, Kai Newman pitched 5 ⅓ innings and allowed two runs on two hits and four walks. He struck out eight. Brown allowed one run over 1 ⅔ innings of work, and Corbin Vibbert was toeing the rubber for the three unearned runs.

Offensively, Rylie Hudson, Gustin and Novak each had two hits. Hudson led the way with a triple and a pair of RBI. Jarrett drove in a run and Cripe doubled to complete the Bulldogs day at the plate.

Lapel ended the year 18-9.

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