LAFAYETTE – Playing championship-level baseball includes finishing what you start.
Unfortunately for Carroll, the Class 4A Lafayette Regional title game that had such a promising beginning Saturday night against eighth-ranked Noblesville slipped away from the Spartans.
Carroll had a three-run lead entering the bottom of the third before the Millers scored four times in the third and two more in the fourth against losing pitcher Grant Inman for a 7-4 triumph.
Carroll (22-10), which advanced with a 5-1 semifinal victory against McCutcheon, got RBI doubles from Inman and third baseman Trevor Snyder in the top of the first and added another run in the third on another Snyder double, but Inman (5-3) struggled with his control, walking three and hitting a batter in Noblesville’s pivotal four-run third.
A hit batsman and a double chased Inman with no outs in the fourth, and while ace Taylor Goshen struck out seven in three innings of relief, the damage had been done before the Wichita State recruit could silence the Noblesville offense.
Carroll had the potential tying run at the plate with one out in the top of the seventh, but Snyder struck out and Matt Meihls popped out, ending the game just as a thunder shower began to pound Loeb Stadium as the Millers (26-8) celebrated.
It’s tough, Goshen said. We played a great game, but we needed to tack on extra runs, and it didn’t happen. Balls that were hit, had they been five feet either way, it’s a different story. We had one bad inning and could have been out of it.
Noblesville is a great team. I hope they win the state.
Carroll coach Dave Ginder was left to wonder what if.
We had a lot of opportunities, Ginder said. Our kids battled hard, and we put two base runners on in the seventh, and then anything can happen. We competed. I am real proud of our kids.
Snyder was 3 for 4 for the Spartans, and Inman was 2 for 3 with a pair of RBI on his first-inning double.
In another Lafayette Regional semifinal game, Homestead was guilty of six errors and was beaten 7-3 by Noblesville.
Homestead led 3-2 before Noblesville broke it open with a five-run fifth during which two errors, two hit batsmen and a walk set the table for the Millers to win it.