FULTON - IAHS captured the division 1-4A title last week, and were rewarded with facing the No. 4 seed Caledonia Confederates from a very baseball-stout division 4-4A.
Three times, IAHS had the potential game-winning run just 90 feet away at third base with less than two outs during an 11-inning game one in Fulton, last Thursday, and three times the Indians failed to capitalize on the opportunities.
“Baseball is strange,” IAHS coach Brian Long said. “We had a few chances to win it. Once, we had runners at second and third with no outs and our 3-4-5 hitters due up. We just couldn’t get that big hit when we needed it.”
Starter Vijay Miller went eight innings, and reliever Klay Houston threw the final three innings and combined to keep Caledonia quiet through 10 innings, but the Confederates took advantage of one of their few opportunities.
A couple of IAHS errors allowed a pair of baserunners in the top of the 11th, and Caledonia got a big hit to score two runs that IAHS couldn’t answer to take a 2-0 win on the road and a 1-0 series advantage.
Hunter White led the way offensively, as he was 2-4 with a pair of doubles in the loss.
IAHS 12, Caledonia 0 - 5 innings (4/24)
The Indians quickly rebounded from the game one letdown to put away the Feds quickly in game two at Caledonia, and an offensive assault would begin from juniors Hunter White and Brody Catt.
On the mound, Catt kept Caledonia from gaining an offensive pulse, scattering just four hits during his five innings of work, and helped his cause on offense by banging a pair of doubles off the wall while driving in three runs.
Hunter White continued his hot streak with a repeat 2-4 performance at the plate, including a double and two RBI.
Russ Payne and Tyler Wood singled in a pair of runs each and Andrew McDonald was a perfect 3-3 with three singles, three runs scored and a walk in the trouncing to force a deciding game three in Fulton.
IAHS 10, Caledonia 0 - 5 innings (4/25)
The Indians followed up Friday night’s trouncing with a curtain call on Saturday. IAHS used a seven-run second inning on their home field to make short work of Caledonia.
Andrew McDonald gave up only three hits in the complete game win on the mound, and delivered what proved to be the knockout blow with a three-run, bases-clearing double in the bottom of the second inning to put IAHS up 6-0.
Brody Catt then continued his offensive barrage with a double off the wall in center field to score Caleb Whittle, who was courtesy-running for McDonald, to stretch the lead to 7-0 before Caledonia could cauterize the damage.
Catt started off the fifth inning by doublin off the wall for the fifth time in the series. Russell Bunch singled him home to extend the lead to 8-0.
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth and Tyler Wood and Jake Smith the runners at second and third, White was one of the last people that Caledonia coach John Wilson wanted to see approach the plate with the potential series-clinching run in scoring position.
White delivered a frozen rope back up the middle that allowed Smith and Wood to score easily and send the Indians into round two with a 10-0 win.
White (6-10, five doubles, four RBI) and Catt (6-9, five doubles, five RBI) were on fire at the plate to pace the IAHS offense during the throttling of Caledonia in games two and three.
Twice during the game, the Caledonia offense threatened to gain momentum, and twice the IAHS defense came up with big plays to stop them.
In the top of the fourth, a base hit to center field appeared to score a Confederate runner from second, but Payne delivered a bullet to cutoff man Bunch, who then threw the runner out at home.
In the top of the fifth, Caledonia attempted to rally with two outs when an apparent base hit was sent in the form of a shot to right field.
Wood charged the ball, caught it on a bounce, then crow-hopped a rocket to Bunch, hosing the runner at first base.
The win pits IAHS against the Ripley Tigers in the second round of the 4A playoffs.
IAHS 13, Ripley 6 (4/21)
Earlier last week, the Indians hosted what would prove to be their round-two playoff foe Ripley, and dispatched them 13-6 on senior night.
Andrew McDonald had a night to remember in his final regular season game as an IAHS Indian, as he went 2-3 at the plate with a grand slam to left-center field and scored three runs.
McDonald also struck out three batters in three innings of work on the mound.
Foster McNeece doubled in a pair of runs while Russ Payne picked up two hits and doubled in two runs.