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DECATUR – Bishop Dwenger High School baseball coach Jason Garrett can't settle on one adjective to describe his team, although “regional champion” fits just fine.
Dwenger beat Yorktown 11-7 on Saturday night to win the Class 3A Bellmont Regional, only its second regional title in school history. Dwenger's other regional title came in 1991.
The Saints outlasted Norwell 11-9 in the semifinals Saturday afternoon to reach the championship.
“Baseball's a funny game,” Garrett said after the semifinal win. “Sometimes it bounces your way and sometimes it doesn't. Resiliency, tenacity, grittiness – whatever term you want to put on it – has defined our kids all year. I'm just proud of them.”
Dwenger (19-11) entered as one of six local schools in the regional round of the baseball tournament, but will be the only local team moving on to next Saturday's semistate level. Blackhawk Christian, Canterbury and Homestead all lost in regional semifinals while Carroll fell 7-4 to Noblesville in the Class 4A Lafayette Jefferson Semistate title game.
In the championship win over Yorktown, Dwenger jumped to an 8-2 lead through three innings and maintained the lead the rest of the way.
Justin Wagoner and Zach Norton had two hits apiece, Noah Freimuth drove in two runs and Dan Connolly picked up the win on the mound.
Dwenger will play Andrean (29-4) in the Class 3A semistate at Kokomo or Plymouth next Saturday.
In the semifinal win over Norwell, the Saints fell behind 5-3 early, then tied it in the fourth on two-run home run by senior Luke Palmer. The Saints then took a 10-5 lead in the fifth, thanks to a bases-loaded chopper in front of the plate by Skyler Noll that led to a throwing error and two runs. The error was the second of the inning for Norwell and the Saints took advantage.
“The swinging squeeze bunt,” Garrett said. “I told him we hadn't put that in yet, but I was glad he executed it.”
Knocking off Norwell, which won the Class 3A state title a year ago, gave the Saints another dose of confidence heading into the title game. Wagoner and Palmer (four RBIs) both had three hits, and Cameron Kahlenbeck and Zach Norton had two hits and Noll drove in three runs. Palmer pitched three innings and Dalton O'Boyle threw the last four.
Norwell (18-9) was led by three hits from Logan Dettmer and two apiece from Zach Kintz, David Vogel and Alex Hunter. Dettmer took the loss.
Dwenger's list of accomplishments this season now include a Summit Athletic Conference title and sectional and regional titles.
“Even though it's more difficult the farther you go, we just keep the mindset of one game at a time, one at-bat at a time,” Garrett said. “Stay competitive.”
In other regionals:
Class 4A: Carroll scored three runs in the first inning, but saw its offense stalled afterward in its 7-4 loss to Noblesville in the championship of the Lafayette Jefferson Semistate.
Trevor Snyder was 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs and Cory McCray and Grant Inman both had a pair of hits. Inman, who took the loss on the mound, drove in two runs.
Carroll beat McCutcheon 5-1 in the semifinals behind a complete-game, four-hitter on the mound from Taylor Goshen.
Homestead lost 7-3 to Noblesville in the other semifinal game. The Spartans' Drew Lunsford had two hits and two RBIs. Homestead's downfall came in the field, where it committed six errors that led to four unearned runs.
Class 2A: Canterbury's season ended with a 5-2 loss to Westview in the Whiting Regional semifinals.
Class A: North White edged Blackhawk Christian 3-2 in the Caston Regional semifinals.