After cruising through three hitless innings with six strikeouts in Saturday's Class 3A Kokomo Semistate, Andrean starter Mike Doolin gave up his first hit. And then another one.
Jay County later added its first run on an RBI single from Noah Arbuckle, thus leaving 59ers coach Dave Pishkur with something to say to his junior standout.
"They scored on two-strike base hits and I told Michael that was crap," Pishkur said. "He tried walking away and I told him he couldn't do this and have to do this instead and he might've said 'I can't' or 'I tried' and I'm like 'You didn't try.' He sometimes relies on too many pitches the same, which we can't blame him for because we let them call their own game, so in essence, it's our fault for letting him do what he wants to do."
The Vanderbilt commit went on to record all three outs via strikeout in the fifth — the way Pishkur wanted.
"I gave him a little bit of, 'This is what you are gonna do.' and he did a really good job and nailed every pitch I asked him to," Pishkur said. "I hope he takes that into next weekend because he's throwing, we're not gonna fool anybody there. He just has to be able to use different pitches in different situations."
When asked about the meeting after the fourth, Doolin laughed before responding.
"I left my breaking stuff up that inning," he said. "(Coach Pishkur) doesn't like seeing me make the same mistakes over and over again. He pulled me aside and said I gotta start making adjustments and put the ball where it needs to be on an 0-2 count. He told me that that every strikeout pitch needed to be in the dirt in the fifth and to trust my stuff and that's what I did and got those three strikeouts."
Setting the table: Hitting at the top of the Andrean lineup, freshman Charlie Jones knows where his bread is buttered.
"I try to be the catalyst for the middle of the lineup because that part can really drive in runs, so I try to get on base for them," Jones said. "Coach (Pishkur) tells me that my job is to get on first base every time."
Jones saw pitches than anyone on Saturday drawing three walks in his four at-bats, adding a single.
"Our 1-2-3 hitters are without a doubt the best combination in the state," Doolin said. "They get on base and produce runs before me and Joe (Rycerz) even come up to bat. A lot of the runs we score and the big leads we take is because of those top three guys. We're lucky to have them there"
Nelson was 2-for-3 with two RBIs in the No. 2 spot, also reaching all four times.
"We need those runs so it's big for us to get on," Nelson said.
Let it snow, let it snow: The forecasted rain held off but the breeze blowing the cottonwood tree buds in the park at Plymouth's Bill Nixon made it look like a winter wonderland at times. The press box joined in, playing a Bing Crosby Christmas song.
"I kept blowing them off my face," Boone Grove pitcher Ty Bothwell said. "It was a little annoying."
Tip of the cap: Tanner Barron had the game-winning hit for Boone but it may not have mattered if not for the remarkable catch by right field Bryce Morris in the prior half inning that saved at least one run.
"He's a fearless kid," Barron said of Morris. "He leaves his heart on the field."
Barron also lauded the composure that Bothwell and the rest of the Wolves, many of them underclassmen, show under duress.
"Ty does a very good of not putting pressure on himself and it definitely shows," he said. "Loud crowds, dugouts, he doesn't let it get to him, so does the whole team."
As for Morris on the prospect of going to state... ."Oh my God, I can't even explain it."
Ouch!: Bothwell sported a couple spike marks on his hand afterward, the hazards of the post-game dog-pile celebration.
Farewell seniors: Chesterton graduates nine seniors, most of them key contributors.
"They won a sectional (as sophomore), were co-(conference) champs and should've won a sectional (as juniors) and got robbed. then won another sectional and a regional (as seniors)," coach Jack Campbell said. "They'll be tough to replace."