Jun 05, 2007 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
With a seven-run lead in the middle of last Monday’s Class B regional final, the Bishop Ludden baseball appeared to be cruising toward an appearance in the state final four.
But it never got there.
Lansing, the Section IV champions playing close to its home at Cornell University’s Hoy Field in Ithaca, made a stunning comeback in the late stages of the game to beat the Gaelic Knights, 8-7, and end Ludden’s dreams of a state championship.
After a weekend where it savored its second consecutive Section III Class B title, the Gaelic Knights had a fresh pitching staff prepared for Lansing and the long-term work a state tournament would require.
Yet it was Ludden’s bats that took over early at Cornell, steadily earning two runs in each of the first four innings on the Bobcats until it possessed an 8-1 lead going into the bottom of the fourth. John Rooney’s pair of doubles keyed the attack.
At that point, though, Lansing started to climb back, getting to Ryan Poplawski by loading the bases, then getting home two runs on Matthew Ford’s single and another tally on Vincent Redmond’s sacrifice fly to make it 8-4.
After going down in order in the top of the fifth, Ludden watched as, in the bottom of the fifth, Poplawski again loaded the bases, leading to Kyle Sweazy’s two-run single that cut the margin to 8-6 and forced Poplawski from the mound.
Terry McFadden, the senior that was the winning pitcher in the Class B-1 final against Westhill, replaced Poplawski, but gave up his own run when Ford hit a sharp shot through the legs of McFadden and off the mound. That led to a double play, but a run scored.
Ludden again went quietly in the sixth inning. Relief pitcher Ed Redmond shut that door, then opened his own when, with Trevor Wolf on second base, he singled to bring home the tying run.
McFadden worked his way to two outs, but Lansing loaded the bases, just as it had done in the previous two innings as it meticulously built rallies. Here, McFadden got wild, plunking Sweazy to let the Bobcats go out in front.
Despite all this, Ludden had one more chance in the seventh inning. But Justin Payne pitching in relief, retired the Gaelic Knights in order to end the game.
Ludden finished its season with a record of 17-8. It finished behind Hannibal and Westhill in the OHSL Liberty division standings, yet peaked at the right time to repeat as sectional champions — and nearly went further.