A year ago, Remington Post 280 saw an excellent summer come to a halt with one bad day in the regional.
After winning the Lafayette Sectional, Remington suffered regional defeats to Lafayette Post 11 and Richmond Post 65, then watched Lafayette’s Post 11 squad win the regional and advance to the state finals.
Last year’s regional tournament is still fresh in the minds of the Remington players from a year ago.
“Last year, for me at least, it kind of left a bad taste,” said Remington pitcher/third baseman Riley Benner. “We played so well all year long, and then had one bad day.”
After a dominant sectional tournament and a third straight sectional title, Remington knows it can’t afford to have the same mishaps of a year ago.
To assure a trip to the state finals, the squad made up of players from Benton Central, Frontier, Twin Lakes, Tri-County, West Central, North Newton and Rensselaer will rely on its deep pitching staff and stellar defense.
Supported by a dominant offensive performance, right-hander James Smith, a recent Benton Central grad, calmly put the ball over the plate in the sectional championship victory over Crawfordsville last Sunday and let his defense do the work.
“It’s hard to explain how much better it makes it (as a pitcher) having a great defense,” Smith said. “I don’t have overpowering stuff. I can’t go out there and blow it by people like Hunter (Gladish) or Riley. I have to hit my spots, hit it low or hit it high and keep people off balance. It makes it easier to do that when I know I have a good defense behind me.”
Smith, who is considering trying to make the University of Indianapolis baseball roster, tossed a complete game in Sunday’s sectional championship, backing up strong pitching performances by 2013 Tri-County graduate Benner and 2013 Frontier graduate Gladish, both members of the Indiana’s North all-star roster.
“With Hunter and Riley leading up our pitching, I think we have a great 1-2 punch to at least lead us to that championship round,” Smith said.
Behind the talented trio of starters, there’s plenty of help in the bullpen should Remington Post 280 get in a bind.
“Our pitching staff will have to perform well. I will have to throw well,” Benner said. “Whoever else pitches will have to throw a good game and keep the other team’s offense in check. That way, we don’t put as much pressure on our offense.”
But depth on the mound may be the key for Remington Post 280 to qualify for the state finals beginning Aug. 1.
That’s where Paul Budde (Tri-County), Austin Sartori (North Newton), Brandon Propes (North Newton) and Ryan Lattimore (Rensselaer) provide comfort for the starting rotation.
“It’s great as far as having us three (Benner, Gladish and Smith), but there’s guys you don’t even see who have pitched pretty well,” Benner said. “We like our pitching staff, and we have plenty of guys who, if called upon, will get the job done.”