Michael Wyman had been coming up with key contributions for the Center Grove High School baseball team often this season.
So coach Keith Hatfield wasn’t surprised Monday evening when Wyman delivered a two-run single in the top of the eighth inning to help lift the Trojans to a 5-2 victory in the Center Grove Sectional championship.
The Trojans (23-3) will now play Bloomington South in the Evansville Reitz Regional semifinal Saturday.
“It felt good off the bat, and I knew we were going to score a couple of runs and get us the lead, so we come out and hold them down in the bottom of the eighth,” Wyman said. “Sectional champs, baby.”
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Joey Drury followed with a run-scoring single to boost the lead to 5-2.
After Center Grove’s Nick Coy singled to lead off the eighth, he moved to second on a sacrifice. Zach Wells struck out. Brian Gudeman walked and Ryan Sauter reached on an infield single. Wyman drilled a bases-loaded single to give the Trojans a 4-2 lead off losing starter Jordan Martin.
“Those two have been coming up big for us all year,” Hatfield said of Sauter and Wyman.
With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Jackson Daugherty and Dylan Rosado singled for the Woodmen. However, Conner Cantrell was able to get the final out.
Center Grove took a 1-0 lead on two walks followed by a run-scoring double by Zach Wells. The Trojans added a run in the third on a pair of errors.
Meanwhile, Center Grove starter Jacob Cantleberry had some uncharacteristic struggles. He walked nine (three were intentional) gave up two hits and struck out 10 before leaving with one out in the sixth.
Center Grove was leading 2-0 at the time.
“Jake didn’t have his best stuff, but he definitely pitched out of lot of jams,” Hatfield said. “I don’t know if he was the most dominant guy on the field, but he was definitely the best competitor on the field (Monday).”
Cantrell came on with two runners on base and the Woodmen tied it scored on fielder’s choice, a single and an error.
“He’s been in relief but only once or twice,” Hatfield said. “He did a really good job once he settled down. I’m proud as a senior of him coming in and getting a win in the sectional final.”
Greenwood coach Andy Bass said he was proud of his team, which finished 16-11.
“You’re going up against one of the top pitchers (Tulane-bound Cantleberry) not just around in the area, but the state, and you battled to get him out of the game,” Bass said. “We tied it up. We had some breaks that didn’t go our way and they had breaks that went their way.
“It’s part of life and part of baseball. I tip my hat to Jordan Martin. We didn’t get things done when we had opportunities to get things done early. Those are 20 kids I’ll take every day to a battle because they don’t quit. The six seniors, we love them to death and we’re going to miss them like crazy.”
Greenwood advanced with a 1-0 victory against Franklin Community in the opening semifinal Monday. T.J. Bass had an run-scoring double for the Woodmen. Reid Werner was the winning pitcher.
Center Grove breezed by Whiteland 15-1 in five innings. Tye Thixton hit a two-run homer run. Jack Kellams got the victory.