KOKOMO | It's a different hitting hero every game for Hanover Central.
The pitching star, that doesn't change.
Tyler Trepton's two-run single keyed a three-run third inning and Andy Wellwerts made the lead hold up -- just barely -- as the Wildcats edged Taylor 4-3 to capture Saturday's Class 2A Kokomo Semistate at CFD Investment Stadium in Highland Park.
"I'm at a loss for words," Trepton said. "This is unexplainable. We wanted this the whole time. We're balanced. Everybody just wants to do their part. I knew he was coming in with a fastball. There was no doubt in my mind. I just got on top of it and hit it in the gap."
A string of four two-out walks by Taylor's Matt Brankle tied the game at 1 in the second. Two more bases on balls in the third set up Trepton, who laced a 3-2 offering for the first of just three Wildcat hits. Trepton scored moments later on an error.
"It doesn't matter. We'll take it however we can get it," Hanover coach Doug Nelson said. "The whole postseason, we've just found ways to win. What's fun about this team is it's never the same person. I kept thinking (Nick) Bollenbacher was going to hit a bomb over that short porch. It turned out to be somebody we weren't counting on. I'm happy for Tyler."
Wellwerts gave up six hits, three of them to Taylor's first three batters, via an infield dribbler and two bunts. But a one-out sacrifice fly produced the only Titans score of the inning. Two Hanover errors made it 4-2 in the fourth.
"I feel real confident when we make plays behind (Wellwerts)," Nelson said. "They've got studs. We talked all week about staying away from the middle of the plate. Of course he wants to go get 'em. He kept them off-balance. I didn't think they were going to hit him too hard, but our defense was real shaky. It should've been 4-0, 4-1."
Wellwerts also left the bag packed in the fifth before Taylor (27-5) crept within a run in the sixth. The Titans got the tying run to second in the seventh but Wellwerts fanned the last two batters to apply the exclamation point.
"I heard all this stuff about their 3-4-5 hitters, how big they were and all the home runs they've hit," Wellwerts said. "Coach asked if I wanted to pitch around them, but I wasn't afraid of them. To me, it's just a bigger strike zone. I looked at them like they were 7-8-9. I figured as long as I didn't walk people, my defense was behind and our offense always comes through. This is crazy. We worked hard for it every day in the off-season. We definitely deserve it."
Trepton also scored Hanover's first run on a Nick Spangler free pass, starting a string of four ball fours after Brankle had recorded two outs on two pitches.
"I just wanted him to take a pitch so it wasn't a three-pitch inning," Nelson said. "At least get it to four."
Hanover (22-5) will play South Spencer (23-6) in the state finals Saturday at Victory Field.
"I can't believe we're going to Indy," said Nelson, his jersey drenched by two buckets of ice water. "It just kind of paved its way."
"One more game," Trepton said.