Grant Inman was determined to make sure East Noble was not going to end Carroll’s sectional championship streak Saturday night. It took a little while longer for the rest of the Chargers to join him.
Inman gave up only three hits, retired the last 13 batters and struck out 14, and Carroll’s offense finally figured out Knights starter Mason Haines in the sixth inning en route to a 7-1 victory to give the Chargers’ their fifth straight Class 4A sectional title.
Carroll, which has won seven straight games and 11 of its last 12, will play at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Lafayette Jefferson Regional against the Lafayette Sectional champion. The Lafayette Sectional final will be played Monday.
On Saturday, Carroll (21-9) and East Noble (23-8) each scored an unearned run early and went to the bottom of the sixth tied at 1. Inman was striking out two batters per inning, but Haines was matching him.
It was very tough at the beginning, said junior Jacob Hansen, who had two of Carroll’s six hits. A lot of the time we were swinging at bad pitches or just hitting it right to somebody. It was getting annoying.
We didn’t make some plays there at the beginning, but I didn’t doubt my teammates at all, Inman added. I knew the hitting would come around. We’ve been hitting very well here in the postseason and I feel like there’s just more to come.
The Chargers’ sixth-inning rally started with a walk to Trevor Snyder, who moved to second on Hansen’s one-out single to center. Taylor Goshen then grounded to Matt Patton at short. Trying to get a force at second, Patton threw wide of the base and into center field, scoring Snyder with the go-ahead run.
East Noble coach Cory Jacquay decided to take out Haines and bring in junior Marc Musselman. The Chargers took off from there as Matt Owens and Luke Brunner walked, Cameron Kohli, Cory McCray and Inman all singled and Snyder came up again and added a sacrifice fly to bring in the sixth run of the inning.
We just thought it was time, Jacquay said of the decision to take out Haines. He could have possibly gone another batter or two and possibly gotten us out of that inning. Those are the risks you take, and it didn’t pan out in our favor.
They’re a good ball club, a good program. You’ve got to come and bring your A game when you’re playing a team the caliber of Carroll. We were in the game. I’m not one to harp on that. Other people are going to see that we lost 7-1. It doesn’t bother me and I don’t care, but at the same time, we played better than what that score was.
The Knights advanced to the championship game Saturday afternoon in style as senior Josh Tew threw a no-hitter in a 7-0 win over North Side. Carroll won the first semifinal Saturday by holding off a late Snider rally for a 4-3 victory.
I always say it’s never easy to advance, Carroll coach Dave Ginder said. I don’t care what year or who you’re playing. It speaks to our kids. They battled, they competed well. A beautiful day. We just hung in there and finally got some balls to fall.