Central Catholic and Tri-Central completed Monday’s Class A sectional semifinals brackets Thursday night with victories at Gordon Leming Field.
Central Catholic, the four-time Class A defending state champions, handily beat Rossville 16-0 in five innings during the late game. Junior Lucas Richardson held the Hornets to three hits over four innings while freshman relief Brandyn Bordenet retired Rossville in order to close the contest.
In the opening game, Tri-Central reeled off six straight runs in the sixth inning to run away with a 10-3 victory over Clinton Prairie.
Central Catholic will take on Tri-Central in the first semifinal game Monday. Frontier will battle Faith Christian in the second semifinal. The winners will battle each other Monday evening for the sectional crown.
The Knights sent 13 batters to the plate in a 25-minute first inning, scoring seven runs on three hits while taking advantage of three Rossville errors to seize control of the game. Senior Ryan DeBoy’s bases-loaded double scored three runs to get Central Catholic going.
CC freshman Luke Fusiek went 3-for-4 with three runs batted in at the bottom of the order to keep the Knights offense humming.
Central Catholic took advantage of nine Hornet errors to build on its lead, adding four runs in the second inning, two more in the third inning and three runs in the fourth inning.
Meanwhile, the Hornets could not muster any offense against Richardson, who did not walk a batter and had three strikeouts.
In the first game, Tri-Central was clinging to a 4-3 lead going into the bottom of the sixth inning against reliever Tanner Forsythe. Two Clinton Prairie errors opened the door for the Trojans to expand their lead. The errors allowed three runs to score. Jade Pickett, Kory Overly and Austin Horn hit consecutive RBI singles for an additional three runs.
“I think we were just able to hit him better,” Tri-Central coach Andy Burnett said. “He’s pretty much a straight-ahead pitcher, and we’re able to hit those kinds of pitchers better.”
Before that sixth-inning surge, the Gophers had gotten within one when Trojan starting pitching Pickett forced in a Clinton Prairie run with a bases-loaded walk. Ryan Waller’s hard-hit ground to third base was scooped up by third baseman Horn for a force, however, limiting the damage.
Tri-Central scored three runs in the fourth inning, taking advantage of two Clinton Prairie errors, for the early lead. In the top of the fifth inning, the Gophers scored two runs on a Walker RBI single and a Tri-Central throwing error.