WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP | Shaving-cream pies to the face are normally reserved for big-league stars who pitch a gem or come through with a game-winning hit.
Someone from Morgan Township had the foresight to bring some Barbasol to Saturday afternoon's Class A Washington Twp. Sectional championship, and it came in handy as the Cherokees beat the host Senators 8-4 to claim the program's second-ever sectional title.
Fourth-year Morgan head coach Jason Dorshorst was on the receiving end of one of the oldest pranks in the book while discussing the big victory.
"This is huge," Dorshorst said while wiping off his face. "We haven't beat those guys in four years, so to do that on this field was huge."
The state-ranked No. 4 Cherokees (22-5) came out swinging against Washington ace Justin Landgrebe, who had just four-hit Morgan on Monday in a 2-1, eight-inning victory in the Porter County Conference tournament championship.
The Cherokees took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first, rallying with two outs on a two-run double by junior Austin Porter that Washington right-fielder Jake Goodan appeared to have lost in the sun.
Senior lefty Mark Ehrstein then laced a double down the right-field line, plating Porter and giving his team some early confidence against the hard-throwing Landgrebe.
"I've never hit him as well as today," said Ehrstein, who finished 3-for-3 with a walk. "He's gotten me out a lot. But we've seen him two times before and it was just our time.
"We were very confident and we knew we could get him."
No. 7 Washington (22-10) didn't flinch despite facing Morgan ace Joe Dougherty. Lead-off man Greg Fadell crushed the second pitch he saw well beyond the right-field fence onto the Senators' track to get within 3-1, and he hit a two-run double in the second inning to tie it at 3-3.
But Dougherty (8-3), the hard-luck loser in Monday's extra-inning game, was outstanding over the next four innings allowing just three baserunners. He walked three and struck out seven while allowing six hits.
"I felt like I settled down a little bit," Dougherty said. "I was more confident after the first couple of innings. My cutter was moving a lot and keeping them off balance.
"I live for these type of games. I felt like it was our turn from the beginning of the season. We just had to go out and do it."
After Washington tied it in the second, Dougherty helped his own cause with a two-run single in the third inning. The Cherokees added an unearned run in the fifth and two insurance runs in the seventh, both scoring on a sacrifice fly by Will Swisher.
The Cherokees had 10 hits, including four infield singles, and drew four walks while only striking out just four times. On Monday, they struck out 11 times against Landgrebe.
"We put the ball in play a lot with two strikes," Dorshorst said. "When you don't get your pitch early on in the count, you have to battle. We set the tone early and these guys really loosened up."
It was a disappointing finish for the Senators and coach Randy Roberts, who was seeking his first sectional title since 2007.
"(Landgrebe) wasn't as sharp as he has been at times but we did next to nothing to help him out," Roberts said. "We were outplayed in every phase of the game.
"We misplayed a lot of balls that a championship team makes. We were just outplayed and the better team won the game."
Morgan, which won its only other sectional in 2004, will play the Culver Sectional winner at 10 a.m. Central time Saturday in the Caston Regional. On Monday morning, Oregon-Davis faces South Central and Culver Community plays Triton at Culver, with the championship set for 4:30 p.m.