Madras shows its resilience
When it came to hitting, Madras' Byron Patt was the first to score for the White Buffalos, as he smacked a single to center in the bottom of the first inning.
Later, he scored on a passed ball from a wild pitch. Patt again hit a single to center field at the bottom of the third inning and crossed home plate once more from an RBI single hit by sophomore Kody Zemke.
The Ravens answered back with a monster six runs in the top of the fourth inning. Ridgeview scored on a combination of good batting, mixed with three errors in the inning for the Buffs. This gave the Ravens their first lead of the game, going up 6-2 heading into the bottom of the fourth.
"Wind was a factor; it was pretty disgusting out here," said Patt.
Senior Brandon Desjardins walked in the bottom of the fourth. Kanim Smith hit Desjardins home with a much-needed single RBI to end the inning down 6-3.
Lewis Fine stepped up to the plate and hit a single in the bottom of the fifth inning. He then scored on a huge hit from Zemke, leading to an RBI double. Holliday and Cameron Rodriguez were both walked to load the bases for Madras. The Ravens pitcher was called for a balk by the umpire, which led to Zemke having a free walk home, as the Buffs inched closer to the Ravens' 6-5 lead heading into the sixth.
Rodriguez came into the sixth inning to pitch for Patt, who had a short stint on the mound and was pulled due to a high pitch count. Tyler Lockey had an incredible diving catch to end the inning, keeping the Ravens at six runs.
"It really pumps us up when players do that, step up, make plays, dive on the ground," Patt said.
"Plays like that make it more fun to be out here," Lockey said.
The Buffs' hitting came to life in the bottom of the sixth. Smith started Madras off with a single to get the Buffs going. Lockey crushed the ball to center field for a double, moving Smith to third. Fine hit a hard line drive to score both Smith and Lockey, giving Madras the lead back. Holliday then drove in Fine with a single of his own. Madras took an 8-6 lead heading into the last inning.
"We have had confidence to beat these teams the whole time; we just started hitting the ball and getting hyped," Lockey said.
Controversy struck in the last inning. Rodriguez was still on the mound with one out and a runner on third. Ridgeview had a big hit to outfielder Patt, who had the ball pop out of his mitt and then snagged it barehanded in mid-air for the out. Patt threw the ball to third base for what was thought to be the last out of the game.
Both head coaches and umpires met in the middle of the field to discuss the prior play, with the game-ending out still uncertain. The umpires finally made a decision saying the Ridgeview runner tagged up and ran home once the ball popped out of Patt's glove making it a legal run. The Ravens narrowed the score 8-7.
"My heart stopped for a second," said Patt "I lost it (the ball) for a bit. I do not normally play outfield, but coaches asked me to step up and I am going to try to step up and do the best I can."
Rodriguez struck out the very next batter to help Madras remain unbeaten and seal the victory for the White Buffalos.
"We really want it this year," Lockey said. "Last year, I am not sure if we would have come back. We're making big strides; were all going hard every day."
"Our main goal this year was to become a brotherhood. Everyone has just been picking each other up. I think we are doing good. Only going to improve from here," said Patt.
Madras rallies aginst North Marion, loses in extras
Kanim Smith started on the mound for the Buffs and held the Huskies scoreless through the first two innings. North Marion scored two runs in the top of the third inning off of a White Buffalo error.
"This was a fun game, it was the type of game we like to be in," said Smith. "I felt like the team did good, we never let down."
Senior Tyler Lockey started things off for the Buffs in the bottom of the fourth inning with a hit up the middle. Lockey was then driven to third base by Lewis Fine who hit a deep shot to outfield for a double. Sophomore Kody Zemke stepped up to the plate and drove home Lockey with an RBI single. Jared Holliday hit Fine home with a sacrifice fly to tie the game 2-2.
The Huskies had a monster hit to center field for a triple to put another runner across home plate to take back the lead. North Marion scored on the very next batter with a sacrifice fly of its own. Lockey closed out the inning on the hill for the Buffalos, who were down 4-2 heading into the bottom of the fifth.
Both teams were held scoreless through the next two innings and hope was dwindling for Madras.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, Nathan Stout stepped up to the plate for the Buffs. Stout took a hit on a North Marion fastball to give much needed life back to the White Buffalos.
Speedster Cameron Rodriguez crushed the ball in between the gap of right and center field for a double. Stout easily crossed home to give Madras a big momentum shift.
"The hit felt good, just to know I helped my team get an extra run to go in," said Rodriguez. "You have to play your best, no matter what they have on their chest and feel good at the same time. You can't worry if they're a 5A team, 6A team, or a team that went to state, it doesn't matter. You just have to play your game and feel great with it."
Smith entered the batter's box knowing the Buffs needed one run to tie the game and hit a ground ball to the Huskies' second basemen, who threw a wild ball to first base for an error. Rodriguez darted home amongst all the chaos and made it safe, as the catcher's glove missed him by inches, tying the game 4-4.
North Marion made a crucial stop to get the third out and sent the game to extra innings.
"To get on second, and to go to third, to score the game-tying run, felt great even more," Rodriguez said. "To know my team was behind me after that, was even more of a thrill than winning or losing this game."
The eighth inning was a defensive battle as neither team could get the bats going, keeping the game tied heading into the ninth inning.
After a couple of hits and a Madras error, North Marion senior Andy Schmitz was up to bat with the bases loaded. Schmitz hit a two-run RBI to put the Huskies up 6-4. The top of the ninth was ended by a crucial double play made by Smith, but Madras could not get any offense going in the final inning.
"In all of our games so far this year, the mistakes have been on us; no team has flat out come out and beat us," said head coach Sam McCormick. "We made some mental mistakes in crucial situations. Against good clubs, all it takes is one play."
"It's actually really exciting," said McCormick. "I believe in these kids and wanted to know where we stack up against really good teams. That was a really encouraging game for us."
Madras (3-1 overall) will host a tournament over spring break March 29-31, opponents and time to be determined.
"I think we're good this year. This is our last year as seniors; we have seven seniors and we are going to be a hard team to beat this year," Smith said, when asked about the upcoming tournament.