Two-thirds of Roncalli’s starting outfield for Friday night’s Class 4A state championship baseball game will be made up of Johnson County residents.
Blake Chitwood, the No. 5 hitter in the Rebels’ batting order, plays left. Occupying the right-field grass at Victory Field in Indianapolis when Roncalli faces No. 1 Zionsville will be Will Harris.
Both seniors are excited to be part of it.
“It’s something you always dream about,” said Chitwood, who transferred to Roncalli after being part of the Center Grove school system from kindergarten through midway into his freshman school year (2012-13).
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“I always knew this was something I always wanted to do. Since we’re the home team, it will be great just running out to left field in front of our fans before the national anthem is played.”
Chitwood is hitting .225; Harris, the Rebels’ No. 7 hitter, sports a .270 average at the plate with a home run to his credit.
Harris, a student at Our Lady of the Greenwood prior to his freshman year at Roncalli, said this nine-loss baseball season has been a journey of varied emotions.
“It’s been a lot of ups and downs. Early on we lost some games that were real close,” said Harris, adding that Aaron Kroll is the program’s third head coach in four seasons.
“That deteriorates some of your confidence, but we got past those,” he said of the early losses. “A lot of it is confidence, and now it’s our turn.”
Roncalli, which lost to Center Grove 4-2 early in the regular season, exacted revenge Saturday with an 8-5 victory to win the 4A semistate at Plainfield High School.
Chitwood has been best friends with Center Grove catcher Will Smithey since the two were first-graders.
“Beating Center Grove was kind of weird,” Chitwood said. “It was fun, but at the same time it was bittersweet knowing we had punched our ticket and ended their season.”
Once the final out is recorded Friday night, Chitwood and Harris will explore different paths both educationally and athletically.
Chitwood and his pal Smithey will room together at the University of Indianapolis, where they’ll play baseball for the Greyhounds. The Indianapolis roster already includes local representation with pitcher Jonathan Bowen (Greenwood) and center fielder Devon Hensley (Center Grove).
Harris, who helped lead Roncalli to a Class 4A semistate in football as the team’s leading receiver (41 catches, 605 yards), is headed to DePauw University, where he’ll play football for the Tigers.
First, the biggest baseball game of their careers awaits.
Kroll, the second-year Roncalli coach, knows the Rebels wouldn’t be where they are minus the contributions of Chitwood and Harris.
“Both have been starting outfielders for us all year and been very good defensively,” Kroll said. “Blake hit .449 last year as a junior. His numbers are down a little bit this season, but he’s a kid we believe in.
“Will is a first-year varsity starter who has had some big hits for us.”
THE CHITWOOD FILE
Name: Blake Chitwood
Family: Parents, Mike and Susan; sister, Brooke, 16
Favorite TV show: “SportsCenter”
Favorite food: Buffalo wings
Favorite movie: “Bull Durham”
Favorite athlete: Kris Bryant
Favorite team: Chicago Cubs
THE HARRIS FILE
Name: Will Harris
Family: Parents, Fred and Jan; sister, Halle, 19; brother, John, 15
Favorite TV show: “Duck Dynasty”
Favorite food: Mexican
Favorite movie: “Neighbors”
Favorite athlete: Cam Newton
Favorite team: Ohio State University football
IF YOU GO
What: Class 4A state championship
Who: Zionsville (30-4) vs. Roncalli (22-9)
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Victory Field, Indianapolis
Previous state finals: Roncalli, 1982 and 2012; Zionsville, none