HAMMOND | Griffith baseball coach Brian Jennings believes he's got his team in the right mindset for a deep run into this year's postseason.
After waiting around for about an hour before their scheduled start time, the Panthers decimated Gavit in five innings 23-0 in the second semifinal of the Clark Sectional on Saturday afternoon.
The first game between Clark (15-8) and Lew Wallace was canceled because the Hornets didn't appear for the game. It marked the second time this season a Gary school didn't arrive for a sectional baseball game after West Side forfeited 7-0 to Morton in the Munster Sectional on Thursday night.
"It's pretty unfortunate, but we'll just have to focus," Clark coach Chris Moore said. "(Clark is) gonna hit, then come back in a couple hours, watch the next game, and hopefully there's not a let down because we've played some hard competition tough all season."
The Pioneers' toughest competition of the postseason will come in Saturday's sectional title game against the Panthers (16-13), who belted out 20 hits against the out-manned Gladiators.
"We played well for as long as we waited. We waited for about an hour, but we came out focused and wanted to put the pressure on them early," Jennings said.
After Griffith scored nine runs in the first two innings, Gavit (6-14) allowed 12 runs in the third, which was highlighted by a three-run single from third baseman Austin Brown, who went 3-for-4 with a double, three runs, and seven RBIs.
"Austin is just another shot of athletic ability and another weapon offensively," Jennings said. "He is an RBI guy that takes pressure off of the lower part of the order."
Gavit recorded its only hit on a Ryan Massey single with two outs in the top of the fifth off of Griffith starter Anthony Carter, who struck out four in the complete-game shutout.
"It's been a roller coaster," Gavit coach Tony Harris said. "We played them well for a while the first time, but then it went downhill and today we just didn't have it."
Brett Brinkley, Jesse Smith, Kyle Buikema, Matt Colomes, Zach Muller, and Brandon Garcia all added at least two hits and one run in the Griffith offensive attack.
"The scoring got our energy up in the first couple innings and we gave ourselves confidence going into the championship game later," Brown said.