Bases-Loaded Walk Lifts Lake Central in 12-Inning Marathon

by | Jun 16, 2024 | Baseball, Featured, RRSN News | 0 comments

Anna Kayser, Special to IHSAA.org

INDIANAPOLIS – It took a while – 12 innings in 3 hours and 46 minutes, to be exact, as the longest game by innings in IHSAA State Finals history – but a bases-loaded walk to Lake Central lifted the Indians over the Mooresville Pioneers on Saturday night at Victory Field, 2-1.

With the game knotted at 1-1 in the 12th inning, pitcher Hogan Denny’s gem of 8.2 innings and 12 strikeouts in relief ended with a two-out, full-count walk. Hudson DeVaughan entered and worked deep into counts, walking his first of three consecutive batters on eight pitches.

“We had a detailed report on Mooresville… Our approach was ‘take until you get a strike,’” Lake Central head coach Mike Swartzentruber said. “Fortunately, the breaks went our way.”

Quinn O’Bryan – the Indians two-hole hitter – stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and worked to a full count before the final pitch of the game, a ball inside, brought home Brenden Smith as the game-winning run.

“The coaching staff does a great job helping us with the mental side of the game, and that’s a big part of it,” O’Bryan said. “Just making sure you’re slowing down, breathing and seeing good pitches.”

Mooresville took a lead with one out in the third inning on a sacrifice bunt to score Denny, who began the game as the Pioneers starting catcher. The lead didn’t last long, however, when Griffin Tobias roped a two-out double and scored on back-to-back wild pitches in the bottom of the frame.

The pitchers’ duel continued from there, with both playmakers from each team’s run-scoring efforts at the center of it all and elite defense squandering run-scoring opportunities for each team.

Griffin Tobias got the nod to start for the Indians, taking his team beyond regulation with 8.1 one-run innings and nine strikeouts. Blake Sivak entered in the ninth and took his team to the end, earning the win with 3.2 hitless innings and three punchouts.

Brendin Oliver surrendered the game-tying run in the third before Denny, the 2024 Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year, entered the game. The Mooresville pitching staff combined to allow just two hits and fan 13 in the contest, led by Denny’s one-hit effort. The Pioneers also walked a 4A-record eight batters, set by Fishers vs. Indianapolis Cathedral in 2018.

“That’s a tough way to lose,” Swartzentruber said. “Our guys, we didn’t really have much going on, and I think all of it was with two outs. It’s just the kind of kids we have, we don’t have a lot of superstars but when you put the individual pieces together, it’s pretty good.”

The 12-inning contest overtook a pair of 10-inning games for the longest in IHSAA state championship history. The previous two longest games came in 1979 when Logansport defeated Evansville Memorial, 6-5, and in 1912 when South Bend defeated Indianapolis Manual, 3-2, in the first ever state championship contest.

Lake Central’s walk-off victory was also the first IHSAA state championship walk-off regardless of class since 2A Alexandria Monroe, 3A Andrean and 4A Hamilton Southeastern each walked off in their respective title games in 2019.

“Our guys have done this all year,” Swartzentruber said. “We started 0-3, we started 3-5. We struggled to score runs at times, by evidence tonight. Our pitching has carried us, and our other guys have just grinded and grinded.”

Swartzentruber, in his eighth year at Lake Central and 27th as a head coach overall, became the first coach in tournament history to guide two different schools to the state title after notching back-to-back championships with North Posey from 2005-06.

Class 4A State Championship Records

Longest Game: 12 innings (also an overall state finals record).

Most At-Bats: 38 by Mooresville.

Most Combined At-Bats: 75 by Mooresville (38) and Lake Central (37).

Most Walks (tied): 8 by Lake Central

Most Combined Strikeouts Thrown: 25 by Lake Central (13) and Mooresville (12).

Most Combined Strikeouts Thrown: 25 by Hogan Denny (12) and Brendin Oliver (1) of Mooresville and Griffin Tobias (9) and Blake Sivak (3) of Lake Central.

Mooresville’s Hogan Denny named Gardner Mental Attitude Award recipient

At the conclusion of the game, Hogan Denny of Mooresville High School was announced as the recipient of the Bob Gardner Mental Attitude Award for Class 4A Baseball.

The award is annually presented to a senior participant in the state finals who best demonstrates mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability and is nominated by his principal and coach.

Hogan, recently recognized as Indiana’s Gatorade Player of the Year, led the state with 10 home runs this season. The Pioneers’ starting catcher was named First Team All-State a year ago by the state coaches association and has been selected to play in the North/South All-Star Game. He’s also represented the school’s football team for four years and played basketball for three seasons.

Hogan is the son of Tim and Sherry Denny of Mooresville, IN and will attend Indiana University to study sport management and play baseball for the Hoosiers. He becomes the first student-athlete in Mooresville history to earn an IHSAA mental attitude award.

The award is named in honor of Bob Gardner who served as commissioner of the IHSAA from 1995-2000 and spent a total of 15 and a half years on the IHSAA Executive Staff.

Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance presented a $1,000 scholarship to Mooresville High School in the name of Hogan Denny.

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