Tigers take advantage of Patriot miscues en route to title

Photos by Daniel Vasta/The Herald
The Heritage Hills Patriots hug the senior members of the team after losing Monday's Class 3A baseball sectional championship in Evansville. Evansville Memorial defeated Heritage Hills 3-0 as the Tigers took advantage of a few Patriot errors to secure the sectional crown. For more photos from the game, click here.


EVANSVILLE — Heritage Hills’ head baseball coach Andy Fischer was well-prepared for a pitcher’s duel in Monday night’s sectional championship game between the Patriots and Evansville Memorial.

The two starting aces in the game — Evansville Memorial’s Michael Lindauer and Heritage Hills’ Mark Doyle. Both had extremely impressive ERA’s of 0.23 and 0.66, respectively.

What Fischer wasn’t prepared for were the three errors that proved all too costly in the Patriots’ 3-0 loss to the Tigers in the Class 3A Sectional 32 championship matchup.

“Those three runs they scored were all unearned so that’s very tough to swallow,” Fischer said. “When you get to this point in the tournament, you have to have a little luck fall your way and unfortunately the luck just fell on the other side of the sideline tonight.”

Two of the Tigers’ runs scored via Patriot errors and Heritage Hills’ was never able to fully recover. Pair that with Lindauer’s spectacular performance on the mound that saw him strikeout 12 Heritage Hills’ players with a mix of a solid fastball and nasty curve, it was clear the Patriots had a tough hill to climb.

Evansville Memorial took an early lead in the first inning of the game. After Lindauer reached base with a walk to start, Andrew Dehner’s single put runners on second and third as they both moved up via the throw. The Tigers scored their two runs after Branson Combs grounded out back to the pitcher, Doyle. After Doyle threw it to first to get the out, Lindauer scored from third. However, the throw to home sailed wide which also allowed Dehner to score and make it 2-0.

“I always say whichever team makes the least amount of mistakes and is able to capitalize on (the other team’s) mistakes is the team that will come out on top,” Fischer said. “Tonight, (Memorial) did that. It was hard to come back from that.”

Evansville Memorial’s only other run in the game occurred in the fifth inning. After Ethan Kelle reached base with a single to start the inning, he later scored on an error throw on a sacrifice bunt byAdam Evans.

Heritage Hills' Simon Scherry, center, pretends to use a speed gun made of cups during Monday's Class 3A baseball sectional championship in Evansville. For more photos from the game, click here.

The Patriots totaled just two hits in the loss on Monday evening with junior shortstop Simon Scherry recording both base knocks. In the early 2-0 semifinal victory against Boonville, Scherry pitched a complete game victory as he gave up just three hits while striking out eight.

In the night game, the pitcher that stole the spotlight was Lindauer. He struck out 12 and kept Heritage Hills’ off-balance throughout all seven innings.

“He was spotting his fastball and slider, it kept us on our toes,” said Fischer. “He’s a really nice player.”

But perhaps what maybe went unnoticed throughout the ballgame is that the man on the mound for Heritage Hills’ nearly went toe-to-toe with Lindauer for most of the evening.

While Doyle only notched three strikeouts and issued a few free passes, he held the Tigers to a total of just two base hits on the evening. Fischer wasn’t surprised with Doyle’s performance as it was something he had done all year (5-2 record in 12 appearances, 0.66 ERA).

“His fastball had its movement and his curveball was really good, too,” Fischer said. “He throws a heavy baseball that’s hard to get squared up. He did his job on the mound.”

The Patriots finished the season with a 22-7 record and it’s safe to say that no one around the Heritage Hills’ baseball program will consider this a disappointing season.

While the Patriots will graduate six players — Carson Leibering, Nathan Lamar, Blake Bryant, Ben Gordon, Noah Chesnut, Grahm Turner — they will also return a core of their starters from this year’s team. The future looks bright for the Heritage Hills’ baseball team.

“These boys did everything I ever asked of them and they’re just a fantastic group of young men who came to practice everyday ready to go,” Fischer said. “These guys are just hard workers and the kind of guys you want to have on your lineup cards.”

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