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A year after settling for a runner-up finish, eighth-ranked Lanesville returned and claimed the big trophy it had been seeking with a 5-1 victory over Rossville at Victory Field in Indianapolis.
A member school since 1939 and an enrollment of 258, it was the first state championship earned by a Lanesville team in any sport. The eighth-ranked Eagles (20-6) were coached by third-year leader Zach Payne and finished the season winning 12 straight games.
A year ago, the Eagles made their first appearance in the Class A championship game but suffered a 4-0 defeat to Daleville. That experience paid off this time around as eight starters returned this year for the school located in Harrison County in southern Indiana.
Scoreless through the first four frames, Lanesville exploded in a big fifth inning for five runs and it all began with two outs. Isaac Casabella walked and Greg Daly’s single moved him to third base. After Daly stole second base, Evan Peele doubled to left field scoring both. Ethan Purdy then pinch ran for Peele and advanced to second on a wild pitch followed by a walk to Ryan McCubbins. Mitchell Bailey then doubled to left field scoring two more runs. Bailey then scored on Cameron Harvey’s single to right field.
Third-ranked Rossville (24-9) got on the board in the bottom of the fifth after a two-out, bases loaded wild pitch brought Mark Soiseth home but the Hornets stranded two runners in scoring position and ended any chance of a rally. Soiseth had walked, advanced to second on Nate Clendenen single up the middle, and took third on a fielder’s choice.
Harvey (9-2) went the distance on the mound for the Eagles striking out four and holding Rossville to three hits.
Rossville was making its second appearance in the state finals, 17 years after its 2000 state championship season. Brad Scott is in his second year coaching the Hornets.
Rossville’s Matthew Homco named Mental Attitude recipient
Following the game, members of the IHSAA Executive Committee announced Matthew Homco of Rossville High School as the winner of this year’s L.V. Phillips Mental Attitude Award in Class A Baseball.
Graduating with a GPA of 4.1 and ranked fourth in his respective class, Matt has excelled in athletics, the classroom, and the community. At Rossville, Matt was involved as a Student Ambassador, National Honor Society, Learning to Lead Program, and as a Future Farmers of America member. He also earned merit in academic awards, such as the Academic Excellence Award all four years and Academic Excellence English Award for three years.
In his community, Matt exemplified what it means to be a leader through his service to helping others. He is a coach for kids mentor, including reading books to elementary students. He has also volunteered at the State Fair Dairy Bar, Pork Chop Supper, and youth basketball camps.
On the field, Matt’s success began early, starting for the varsity baseball team his freshman year. He has earned varsity letters in baseball and basketball and also played tennis. He was named team MVP, All-Conference, Academic All-State Nominee, and Journal & Courier All-Area.
Matt is the son of Dennis and Judy Homco of Rossville, Indiana. He plans on attending Purdue University, where he will study business/finance.
The award is annually presented to an outstanding senior participant in each state championship game who has best demonstrated excellence in mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability in baseball. The award is named in honor of the late L.V. Phillips, who served as the second commissioner of the IHSAA from 1945-62.
Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, the IHSAA’s corporate partner, presented a $1,000 to the general scholarship fund at Rossville High School in the name of Matthew Homco.