On the Fritz: Shortstop’s inside-the-park homer, running game leads to Zebra regional semifinal loss
McCarter goes 3 for 3, Young adds 2 RBIs in loss
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
LAFAYETTE – The Delphi baseball team has taken its state tournament run literally.
Evan Fritz had a go-ahead two-run single in the third inning and later added a two-run inside-the-park homer, and Delphi added nine stolen bases in a 12-5 win over Rochester in a Class 2A Lafayette Central Catholic regional semifinal at Gordon Leming Field Saturday.
Tyler Landis went one out into the seventh inning for the win for No. 6 Delphi, who improved to 25-6 and avenged a 2-1 regular season loss to Rochester on April 6.
Landis also benefited from an inning-ending double play in the fourth in which Young was thrown out trying to go from second to third on Colton Ferverda’s grounder to the left side.
Grant McCarter went 3 for 3 with a walk, an RBI and two runs scored for Rochester (19-12) in the loss. Freshman designated hitter Gavin Young had two hits and two RBIs.
The loss snapped Rochester’s 10-game winning streak and was their first loss since a 10-0 loss in six innings to Warsaw on May 8.
Ironically, Rochester got the leadoff hitter on base in each of the first six innings, but their only multi-run inning was the seventh inning, where they did not get the leadoff hitter on. And by then, they trailed by nine runs.
Perhaps an even odder stat: Rochester pitcher Brock Beehler struck out the side in the first inning, but Delphi did not strike out at all the last six innings.
Already leading by three runs in the sixth, Delphi scored six more times to take a 12-3 lead. The inning featured two errors, a balk and three more stolen bases. Jaden Roth scored on a balk, and Jaden Long singled home two runs and went to third on an error and scored on another error. Chase Long and Cole Long later added RBI singles.
“They hit the ball well,” Rochester coach Cory Good said of Delphi, who finished with 13 hits. “For the early part of the game, I felt like a lot was good at-bats, good approaches. … Maybe a couple balls we should have grabbed if we were a little more aggressive. Who knows? I mean, they’re tough. We knew they were going to be. We had seen them once. It was a dogfight. Credit to them. They hit the ball well. They moved runners when they needed to. When they got guys on base, they were scoring them.”
Young drove in McCarter with an RBI single in the bottom of the second, but Fritz’s two-out, two-run single off Rochester starter Brock Beehler gave Delphi in the third.
“I don’t know exactly where that turning point came,” Good said. “There were some ups and some downs. Our downs seemed to get us a little bit more than our ups. Yeah, that third inning put a little pressure on us.”
Delphi made it 4-1 in the fourth. Beehler hit Chase Long with a pitch to lead off the inning. Long stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and then scored on Jaden Roth’s RBI single.
Jaden Roth then stole second and scored on Peyton Roth’s RBI single. Peyton Roth, Delphi’s No. 9 hitter, came into the game with a .150 batting average, but he went 2 for 2 with two singles, a walk and a sacrifice bunt.
Rochester cut Delphi’s lead to 4-2 in the fourth when McCarter led off with a single, stole second, went to third on Quin Stesiak’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Young’s perfectly weighted bunt single down the third baseline.
Aaron Huffman relieved Beehler to start the fifth and hit Jaden Long to start the inning. Fritz then hit a sinking liner to center. Kyle Reinartz came in on the ball and tried to make a shoestring catch, but the ball evaded him and rolled to the wall. Fritz, who had 2,068 combined yards rushing and receiving and 24 touchdowns for the Delphi football team last fall, sped around the bases and slid home safely for a homer and a 6-2 lead.
Kane Lutz walked and eventually came around to score on a balk in the bottom of the fifth to make it 6-3.
There might still have been hope, but Delphi had another big inning in them.
“Honestly, I felt like we were there when it was 6-3,” Good said. “So, just a tough game. Like I told these guys, especially in tournament play, it’s going to be a long game, a lot of ups and downs. You've just got to roll with the punches and come back fighting.”
McCarter and Stesiak drew two-out bases loaded walks in the seventh off Delphi reliever Chase Almagar. It was the final game for McCarter, Stesiak, Reinartz, Beehler, Lutz and Blake Hughes, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the sixth and played the final inning in right field.
McCarter, Stesiak, Reinartz and Hughes were also members of the RHS boys basketball team that won back-to-back sectional titles in 2020 and 2021.
“Just incredible,” Good said in summing up the seniors’ contribution to the program. “What those six guys bring to this team is amazing. They’re great leaders. They do things the right way. You don’t have to worry about their attitude or their effort. They just come out and give it their all.
“What they’ve done with the basketball team and in the fall, the winter and the spring is just awesome.”
Rochester sophomore outfielder Ethan Medina did not play and was not with the team. Good said Medina was “ineligible” but declined to elaborate. Freshman Colton Ferverda started in right field and batted eighth and went 0 for 2.
“I thought Ferverda played a pretty good right field,” Good said. “He had good at-bats. A tough situation to come into, get your first at-bats and your first defensive reps… But I like getting those guys’ feet wet in situations like that. They’ve got to learn from it.”
Rochester is 0-4 in regional games since the first class baseball tournament in 1998. Rochester has never won a baseball regional.
In the first semifinal, No. 2 Wapahani routed Madison-Grant 12-1 in six innings. Delphi then went on to beat Wapahani 7-2 in the regional final for their first regional title since 2010. Delphi will play Eastside in the semistate at 1 p.m. this Saturday at Kokomo’s Municipal Stadium in the semistate.
Delphi 12, Rochester 5
Delphi 002 226 0 – 12 13 1
Rochester 010 110 2 – 5 7 1
WP – Tyler Landis
LP – Brock Beehler
HR – Evan Fritz (DEL)
1. Luke Smock (3B) – 2-4, BB, 2 R
2. Jaden Long (2B) – 1-3, SAC, HBP, 2 RBI, 2 R
3. Evan Fritz (SS) – 2-5, 4 RBI, 2 R
4. Gavin Gleason (C/RF) – 0-4
5. Chase Long (RF/C) – 2-3, HBP, RBI, 2 R
6. Cole Long (DH) – 1-4, RBI
7. Jaden Roth (1B) – 2-4, RBI, 2 R
8. Carson Workinger (LF) – 1-3, SAC
9. Peyton Roth (CF/P) – 2-2, BB, SAC, RBI, 2 R
FLEX. Tyler Landis (P)/ Chase Almagar (P)
1. Tarick McGlothin (SS) – 2-3, R
2. Kyle Reinartz (CF) – 0-2, BB, R
3. Evan Elliott (3B) – 0-4
4. Brock Beehler (P) – 0-2
Aaron Huffman (P) – 0-1
Brayden Zink (P) – 0-0, BB
5. Grant McCarter (1B) – 3-3, BB, RBI, 2 R
6. Quin Stesiak (LF) – 0-2, BB, SAC, RBI
7. Gavin Young (DH) – 2-4, 2 RBI
8. Colton Ferverda (RF) – 0-2
Blake Hughes (PH/RF) – 0-1
9. Kane Lutz (2B) – 0-2, BB, R
FLEX. Jake Seuferer (C)
Tyler Landis (6 ⅓ IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 7 K)
Chase Almagar (⅓ IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 1 K)
Peyton Roth (⅓ IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K)
Brock Beehler (4 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 3 K)
Aaron Huffman (2 IP, 7 H, 8 R, 6 ER, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 0 K)
Brayden Zink (1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K)