INDIANAPOLIS | As the Northwest Crossroads Conference baseball season came to a close, Andrean's captains envisioned two moments.
The first was the team ending its season in the same place it had the past three years: somewhere in the regional.
The second vision became reality on Saturday at Victory Field in Indianapolis. With blue ribbons hanging around their necks, Andrean won its fourth baseball state title with a 6-0 victory over Gibson Southern.
"We talked about if we wanted to see this moment, we'd have to play better as a team and play better baseball," senior Donovan Chandler said. "We knew that's what it would take."
Andrean played its combination of team ball and small ball to beat Gibson Southern.
Junior Nick Podkul hit one of two extra-base knocks for the Niners (31-4), a triple in the seventh inning and came home on an error to score three runs to give Andrean its final score.
For the first six innings, the Niners scored on two groundouts and an error to take a 3-0 lead. In each inning Andrean scored, the leadoff runner reached home, taking first on a single or a walk.
Gibson Southern pitcher Dillon Whitten walked three batters, two scored and the third reached as far as second base. He also hit three with pitches.
"I was just looking for a good pitch," Podkul said. "Later in the game, his fastball was going right over the plate, so I just wanted to get it to right-center."
"The pitcher for Gibson Southern did not walk many guys all year, but last week he hit three or four guys," coach Dave Pishkur said. "The combination of the walks and the hits, just the big hits and we didn't have many hits, but when we got guys on base, it was big."
Andrean starter Matt DeSomer had 10 strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. He walked two and allowed four hits.
"My fastball felt pretty good," DeSomer said. "Most of my strikeouts came on my fastball. I was hitting my spots pretty good until I got tired. My curveball wasn't there that much."
Reliever Jimmy Skiff entered in the sixth inning with runners on third and first. He threw two strikes and enticed Reed Farmer into a double play on a slick throw by second baseman Chase Dawson.
"Jimmy came in and just said, 'I'm going to throw every pitch for a strike,'" Pishkur said. "It was a great team effort, great pitched game, we had some timely hits and bunts that we got down."
Andrean's last loss of the year came against Munster, which prompted the team meeting and decision to reach Indianapolis by June.
"No matter how good you are or how much talent you have, the biggest thing about winning a championship is sticking together as a team," Podkul said.
"The energy doesn't compare to the beginning of the season to that meeting. It started hitting us when we got to that point that we were getting close to the postseason."