FULTON | Morgan Township had no answer for Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian pitcher Matt Kaplanis.
Kaplanis gave up a lead-off single to Matt Politio and then retired 19 of the final 22 hitters in tossing a three-hitter as the Braves beat the Cherokees 4-0 in the Class A Caston Regional championship game on Saturday.
Kaplanis struck out 13 and did not walk a batter. He threw 90 pitches.
“When you don’t see someone with that velocity every day, it’s tough,” Morgan Township coach Jason Dorshorst said. “It’s definitely an adjustment and we just couldn’t make the adjustments. He’s a good pitcher.”
The Braves (22-6-1) did all of their scoring in the third inning. Dru Sebastian and Aaron Jones each had run-scoring doubles with one out, and Nathan Targgart added a sacrifice fly. The fourth run scored on a throwing error on a cutoff throw.
Blackhawk Christian chased Cherokee start Ryan Klikus from the game after just 2-and-1/3 innings. He allowed six hits and walked two before departing.
Joe Dougherty, who tossed a complete game in Morgan Township’s semifinal victory, worked 2 -2/3 scoreless innings of relief. He allowed two hits and struck out two.
“We kept them off balance with all the guys we were throwing,” Dorshorst said. “Our guys battled, and I’m proud of them for that.”
Polito led the Cherokees (23-6) with two hits. Adam Rettinger had Morgan Township’s other base hit.
Morgan Township graduates six seniors. In 2011, the Cherokees won 10 games, and this year, they won the second sectional title in school history.
“These guys have given me everything for the past four years,” Dorshorst said. “A bunch of these guys have started all four years. We weren’t very good when they came in as freshmen, but 23 wins and we were in the regional final. I’m proud of them and I’m going to miss them.”
Reid Zimmerman finished with three hits for the Braves.