2024, Varsity Baseball | June 16, 2024


Lake Central outlasts Mooresville to win second state title

nwitimes.com – Chris Breach Times Correspondent

INDIANAPOLIS — It was an improbable finish to an improbable season for the Lake Central Indians Saturday night at Victory Field in Indianapolis in the Class 4A state championship game.

Senior Quinn O’Bryan’s walk-off walk in the bottom of the 12th inning gave Lake Central a gratifying 2-1 win over Mooresville in the longest championship game in state history.

“It feels awesome,” O’Bryan said. “We worked all season for this — for it to come down to that. I mean it was a great ballgame. Yeah, it was awesome.”

Lake Central (25-9) used two pitchers, Griffin Tobias and Blake Sivak, while Mooresville utilized three. Mooresville’s third pitcher, Hudson DeVaughan, had control problems and walked four straight batters in the 12th inning after two were out.

“We knew (DeVaughan) could get wild, so we told them to take until you get a strike, and the next thing you know,” Lake Central coach Mike Swartzentruber said. “That’s a tough spot. That kid is going to be a really good pitcher. He’s just a sophomore.”

Brenden Smith, Mike Szatkowski and Nick Robinson all walked in front of O’Bryan to set the stage.

“This is pretty special,” said Swartzentruber, who won two back-to-back state titles as coach at North Posey in 2005 and ‘06; “After a long gap and Lake Central taking a chance on me eight years ago. We’ve knocked on the door and knocked on the door. That was our motto – ‘Knock the damn door down,’ and they sure did.

It’s Lake Central second baseball state title with the first coming in 2012.

Griffin Tobias, the Indiana University recruit, pitched 8⅓ innings, allowing just one run on five hits. He doubled to the left field wall and scored on a wild pitch to knot the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the third. He exited the game after throwing 118 pitches.

“I could’ve went out for another 100,” he joked. “I guess there’s rules around here, but it is what it is. Blake (Sivak) came in, and he did his job. I’m super proud of him.”

Tobias didn’t realize until after the game that it was the longest game in history.

“I guess they made an announcement (during the game), but I didn’t hear it because I was so fired up. I’m super proud of all of my teammates. It was an incredible run, especially to end it with a win. Our senior year was amazing.”

Lake Central won, despite getting just two hits, with the other being a Ryder Fernandez single to lead off the ninth inning. Tobias made no excuses for winning it the way the Indians did.

“They can talk all they want, but we’re on top and that’s all we needed,” he said.

L.C.’s defense came through time and again. Smith made two sensational catches in foul territory near first base, retiring Hogan Denny, an IU recruit, and a second catch where he turned and threw out Denny who tried to advance to third base for an inning-ending double play in the 11th.

“We grinded at-bats,” Tobias said. “When you face three good pitchers on the mound, you’re not going to get like eight hits a game. You’re going to have to grind, you’re going to have to walk. Shout out to Mooresville, they threw three great guys, and we just grinded.”

Sivak relieved Tobias and didn’t allow a hit, while striking out three in three-plus innings.

“I probably threw 50 or 60 pitches, but man it felt like forever,” Sivak said. “The game just dragged on, and I’m happy I could do the best I could to get our team the win.

Sivak said the Indians were a resilient bunch.

“This team of all teams, everyone doubted us,” he said. “We started 0-3, and 3-5, and to come out and really make our names known, and let everyone know we’re not messing around. We’re Lake Central High School. I’m very proud of my guys.”

Szatkowski made a diving catch in left field to end the top of the 12th inning, and he then drew one of the all-important walks.

“It feels amazing,” he said. “We put in all the hard work throughout the year, and we finally got to this moment. We finished it off. It felt great.”

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