HEBRON — Boone Grove ace Ty Bothwell has been nearly unhittable in 2018.
He still had some outings to atone for against Hebron, however. Last year, in two starts, the Hawks touched him up for 14 hits and 13 runs (10 earned) in just five innings.
When asked if revenge was on his mind, Bothwell wasn't hesitant to answer.
"Definitely. You can't go out here not thinking that," he said. "We were all pumped for this game because once we saw we had Hebron on the other side of the bracket, we knew who it'd come down to because, well, it's Hebron. They're always gonna find a way and they're always gonna put up a fight."
The Wolves southpaw was marvelous Monday as he delivered his fourth no-hitter of the season and racked up 17 strikeouts in a 7-0 win over the host Hawks in a Class 2A Sectional championship. He also was 3 for 4 with an RBI.
"Hebron came ready to play, especially early. Their dugout was loud and chirping," Boone Grove coach Pat Antone said. "Last year, that type of thing got to Ty and it was really good to see that he was able to focus (Monday) and have a good mental approach and still be able to execute. He's quite a player. We're not where we are without him, and a lot of the other guys too, but Ty's definitely a huge piece of the puzzle."
The Hawks blasted the Wolves 13-1 in five innings in last year's sectional final.
"The revenge factor was absolutely there," Antone said. "When you get your butt handed to you like that last year, you definitely have a little extra incentive to come out and really take it to them in the final game."
Boone Grove (18-5) will play Eastside in Saturday's regional at Whiting's Oil City Stadium.
No ball left the infield against Bothwell, who had retired 11 straight before a walk preceded the game-ending strikeout.
"I didn't have my best stuff, but my fastball was definitely working well and if I didn't have that, they would have walked all over me," he said. "I felt like once I got in the middle of the game that I started heating up and was able to get my offspeed rolling and then I felt like I was gonna be OK.
"My mindset was the biggest difference, I was more focused. I took my time to gather myself after every pitch and knew that I'm up there for my guys doing my job and that if I do mine, they'll do there's."
Charlie Hoskins delivered the most important of Boone Grove's six hits with a seventh-inning grand slam in a full-count. He also had an RBI double in the sixth.
"I've been struggling lately, so I was looking to hit down on the ball," he said. ""Thanks to Ty for busting down the line to keep the inning alive, even with a sore hip. I tried to get a ball to do something with and (Hebron starter Travis Patrick) threw me one low. It felt amazing. It was definitely those insurance runs we needed, we were able to breathe a little bit more."
The senior first baseman also drew praise from Hebron coach John Steinhilber.
"When he first started, he had a place you can pitch him and he was an out, but he's worked and worked," he said. "You look at him and he's a stocky guy, but all he does is get it done."
Patrick allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits through five innings before fatigue eventually caught up. He struck out eight in 6 2/3 innings.
"He was getting close to the 120-pitch mark and I think in this heat that he was maybe a little tired, but I still will always like my chances with him on the mound," Steinhilber said. "It is what it is. We gotta get some runs for him and we didn't. ... He should feel very good because he pitched a good game for us."
Every starter for Hebron (13-10) struck out at least once, except Patrick.
"We have to put the ball in play and obviously once (Bothwell) gets going, that's hard to do," Steinhilber said. "I'm proud of my team. We replaced seven position players and lost four pitchers and we were still right there. These seniors gave me all they had even until the last out and that's all I can ask."