WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP | No one really wanted to say it, but last Wednesday's 1-0 victory by Morgan Township over state-ranked No. 3 and host Washington Township was really the championship game in this Class A sectional.
The next two rounds turned out to be just a formality for the Cherokees, who dispatched LaCrosse 9-1 in the rain-delayed championship Tuesday at Senator Park to win the second-consecutive title for fifth-year coach Jason Dorshorst.
Morgan (18-9) advances to the Caston Regional to face Elkhart Christian at 10 a.m. Saturday.
"This one felt anticlimactic from the standpoint of having already beaten Washington," Dorshorst said. "But it's still pretty sweet. We tell the kids winning a sectional is not something that is going to happen every year, so to win back-to-back is special."
Dorshorst has three quality pitchers, and each earned a complete-game win in the sectional.
Senior right-hander Austin Porter got his turn on the mound against the Tigers (5-19). He gave up a first-inning home run to Jared Dyjak, but shut them down the rest of the way on three hits with 10 strikeouts.
Ryan Klikus shut out the Senators last Wednesday, while Joe Dougherty blanked Kouts in a 6-0 semifinal win Saturday.
"Having three pitchers to rely on is a luxury we've had this year," Dorshorst said. "Austin did a nice job and threw strikes. We felt he was in control the entire game, setting the tempo even after the first inning."
Morgan's offense got going in the bottom of the second against Dyjak (2-6). Wish Swisher and Jake Koselke started the inning with back-to-back doubles, Nick Conner walked and eventually scored on a wild pitch, and Jacob Hernandez picked up an RBI on a groundout to short.
Swisher added a two-out triple and scored on a Dougherty single in the third for a 5-1 lead, and the Cherokees added four more in the sixth with the help of a couple wild pitches.
"(Dyjak) kept giving me first-pitch fastballs and I love turning on inside pitches," said Swisher, who went 3-for-3 with two runs and an RBI. "(Beating Washington) put us over the hump from being just a good team to a real good team, and I feel like we can play with anyone."
Dyjak was the leader all season for LaCrosse and first-year coach Zach Prairie, who had four freshmen and two sophomores in his starting lineup.
"Jared has been our go-to guy all season long," Prairie said. "He had a great season for us.
"We have a lot of young players and sometimes they go up to bat with a not very aggressive approach. But it was great to get these guys experience in a championship game. I told them before the game, whatever happens good or bad this is a game they will always remember."