Allen, a junior left-hander, gave up just one run on four hits over seven innings while Haupt’s gargantuan grand slam highlighted the Centurions’ five-run seventh inning in their 6-1 win over host Eastern on Monday night in the district semis.
“(It was) a very big win,” Allen said. “They beat us in the regular season 2-1 and we come out here and beat them 6-1 – you can’t ask for a better ending.”
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With the win CAL (18-15) will meet Ballard (19-12-1), the reigning district and Seventh Region champion, at 6 p.m. Tuesday night in the 28th final. The Bruins beat the Centurions 5-3 in last year’s district championship and 7-5 on April 26.
Eastern, which had eked out its one-run win over CAL on May 3 in Middletown, was in control for most of the rematch. Senior starting pitcher Bailey Sutton, a Western Kentucky University signee, had a no-hitter and a 1-0 lead through four innings before the Centurions came alive.
Senior Dylan Sexton led off the fifth with an infield single, stole second, took third on a passed ball, then scored the tying run on freshman Jason Dupps’ bounce out.
It remained deadlocked until the top of the seventh. That’s when senior Addison Skarski reached first on a one-out error by sophomore shortstop C.J. Kenworthy, who made several nifty plays up until then. Dupps followed with a single through the left side of the infield, then Allen reached on a high-bouncing infield single to load the bases. The next batter, CAL leadoff hitter Blake Carlisle, hit a ground ball in the hole, where Kenworthy had to go to his knees to make the stop. Skarski beat Kenworthy’s throw home for the game-winning run.
Haupt then teed off on Sutton’s first-pitch fastball to put the game away.
“My first couple at-bats he threw me a first-pitch fastball every time, and I was expecting it the last one, so I kind of saw it coming and I just swung,” Haupt said.
Added CAL coach Tim Brown: “His previous at-bats he had struggled a little bit, so I knew he was going to hit the ball hard. You just hope it finds a hole, and he found a big hole.”
Sutton hit the next CAL batter, Luke Price, and was ejected.
Allen allowed two baserunners, on a single and a walk, in the bottom of the seventh, before forcing a fly out to end the game.
“My fastball was pretty good, I thought,” Allen said. “It had a little tail on it and when I warmed up, (I was throwing) all strikes.”
“I would say it was the composure of the kids that was the key to the game,” Brown said. “Johnny’s composure on the mound and our composure to trust ourselves that we would pull it out, give ourselves a chance to win.”
The Eagles ended their season 11-22-1.
“They got the hits when they needed them,” Eastern coach Kim Christensen said. “We had a couple of opportunities early in the game and didn’t capitalize on it, which has kind of been the way it’s been all year, we just haven’t had a timely hit.”
Ballard 10, KCD 0: The top-seeded Bruins run-ruled the Bearcats (11-13) in five innings in Monday’s first semi.
A trio of Ballard hurlers, including starter Jordan Gunter (5-4), held KCD to one hit while the Bruins tallied nine hits against a pair of Bearcat pitchers.
Senior Jake Snider led Ballard batters with two hits and a trio of RBIs. Gunter also helped his own cause with a pair of hits, including an RBI-double in the bottom of the first inning.