Adams Central and Bishop Luers played a game worthy of being called a championship game, with both teams entering the decisive final inning with one run on the scoreboard, but it was a three-run rally by the Knights in the top of the seventh that ultimately gave Luers their first sectional baseball title since 2012 as they defeated the Jets 4-1.
“We were projected to finish last in the ACAC this year,” noted AC head coach Josh Foster of his team’s performance in 2023. “We finished fourth but were right there with all those other teams. Not many gave us a chance to win a sectional but there we were, three outs from it. While we didn’t quite finish where we wanted to, we did some great things along the way.”
Cade Van De Weg had allowed just one run in his first six innings of work, keeping the Jets’ hopes alive even as the bats fell somewhat cold on a warm Memorial Day. The lefty picked up his ninth strikeout of the day, painting the corner to get Isaac Zay looking for the first out of the inning.
Mason West singled in front of center fielder Jack Hamilton and Milo Diehm drew a walk, the fourth issued by Van De Weg in the game.
The fateful play of the game came on the next pitch. Jaden Mays was ready to sacrifice himself to move both runners over, but the Jets made a mess of it, missing out on the opportunity to get an out and instead allowing West’s courtesy runner to score and Diehm to take third base.
Both runners advanced on a wild pitch with Nate Heflin at the plate, with Diehm scoring to make it 3-1. Heflin later walked and Foster brought in Logan Uhlman to limit the damage and give the team a chance to come back in the last half inning.
A double steal set up Qwenton Roach to knock in a third run for the Knights in the inning with a simple fly ball and he did just that, driving in Mays with a fly ball to Caden Funk in right.
The Jets went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh against West, who was lights-out in relief for the final four innings and awarded the victory for Luers.
Luers’ first run came on a bases-loaded, two-out, full-count walk in the second inning.
Adams Central tied the game in the fourth, loading the bases with singles by Trevor Currie and Ryan Tester before Dakota Perry, Saturday’s star pitcher, was hit by a pitch with one out. Keegan Bluhm drove in the Jets’ only run and reached on an error by the Luers shortstop.
Travis North was the starter for Luers, allowing five hits before being pulled in the middle of that fourth-inning jam. He was charged with the one unearned run.
Luers will take on Westview Saturday for the regional championship.
Foster thankful for senior guidance in first season in charge
Reflecting on the final game of the year, Foster was intentional in thanking those who had helped him in his first year at the helm of the Adams Central program.
“I told my seniors that I appreciate them helping me navigate this first season,” said Foster. “They are good leaders that never gave up and they will be missed. Ryan Black, Logan Uhlman, Ethan Poling, Caden Funk and Robby Ellenberger each brought something different to the team and onto the field that allowed us to finish 18-9.
Foster was also quick to point out the sacrifice his family had made to allow him to take the job.
“I have to thank my wife, Julie, for agreeing to that crazy schedule that comes with this job. She was amazing all season,” he noted.
The coach also thanked his players for the way they treated Foster’s five kids.
Also assisting Foster and receiving his gratitude were assistant coaches Jalen Hammond, Austin Baumer, Lance Busse and Jaxson Rinkenberger.