Sectional Championship Baseball

Chargers fall short in championship game


KOKOMO – North Montgomery’s comeback effort in Monday’s title game of the Northwestern High School 3A Sectional fell just short. Twin Lakes defeated the Chargers 8-7 to advance to next week’s regional.

Twin Lakes started the game with three runs in the first inning and three more in the third inning. The top of the Indian order did the damage. The top four hitters after two at-bats were 6-for-8 including a homerun and six runs scored.

Charger Coach Matt Voorhees credited the Indian hittetd for their fast start.

“If you go through their lineup, you can see they have several .300 and .400 hitters,” Voorhees said. “They are a solid team and they came out ready to play.”

Facing a 6-0 deficit after three innings, the Charger’s offense started to wake up.

In the top of the third inning, senior Jarrod Kirsch put the Chargers on the board with a solo shot over the right fence.  Senior Gage Edwards then singled and senior Ross Dyson walked with no outs. 

Clean-up hitter Corbin Meadows produced an RBI single to chase home Edwards and moved Dyson to third base. Freshman Isaiah Hopkins’ sacrifice flyball scored Dyson. Suddenly, the Chargers had cut the Indians’ lead to 6-3.

After Twin Lakes failed to score in the top of the fourth inning, the Chargers looked to be in business again. Senior Noah Hopkins started the inning with a single and moved to second on a senior Roman Utterback one-out single.

Next, Indian senior starting pitcher first baseman Tanner Coble,  made what could be considered the defensive play of the game. Kirsch hit a slow roller to the left of the pitchers’ mound. Colbe fielded the ball and was able to dive and touch the bag with his glove just a half-step ahead of Kirsch.  than came to his knees, twirled and threw a perfect throw to the Indian’s catcher who placed a tag on Hopkins who was trying to score from second base for the final out of the inning. The double play got Twin Lakes out of the inning.

Twin Lakes threatened to score in the top of the fifth inning, but Kirsch struck out the last batter with runners on second and third.

North Montgomery pitch-hitter Tucker Hinds started the fifth inning with an infield single. Freshman Aiden Ambriz entered the game as a pinch-runner for Hinds. The next batter, Dyson sailed a full-count pitch over the right field fence to make the score 6-5 going into the sixth inning.

North Montgomery pitcher Kirsch only needed to face four Indian batters in the top of the sixth inning to get his defense off the diamond. 

Kirsch left the game after the inning due to pitches. The lefty finished his career  with several North Montgomery pitching records including most career wins and most career strikeouts .

Utterback, who was 3-for-3 on the day and scored the winning walk-off run in Wednesday’s semi-final, energized the Charger faithful again when he hit an inside-the-park homerun to deep left-center field. The big hit tied the score and all momentum seemed to belong to North Montgomery.

Twin Lakes quickly responded in the top of the seventh inning. Sophomore Carson Wagner started the inning with a double. After a walk and a strikeout, freshman Mason Brummett singled to bring home Wagner. The Indians scored a second run when freshman Tatem Goyer was hit by a pitch after bases were full of Twin Lake base runners. The Indians led 8-6 going in North’s final inning.

North Montgomery (19-8) did not go down without  a fight. Dyson started the inning with a walk and was replaced by junior pitch runner Nolyn Brown. Brown promptly advanced on a balk. Corbin Meadows moved Brown to third base with a fielder’s choice. Hopkins recorded his second RBI of the game when he grounded out on a fielders choice allowing Brown to score. Miller got the next Charger batter to fly out to the left center to end the game.

Miller was the winning pitcher and Kirsch took the loss for the Chargers despite recording nine strikeouts. Kirsch struck out nine Indian batters in the game.

“We were down 3 to 0 and then 6-0 and it would have been easy to just fold”, Voorhees said. “We made some mistakes. We fought back.”

Eight Charger seniors finished their careers in the championship game. Dyson, Kirsch, Noah  Hopkins, Meadows, Austin Sulc, Gage Edwards and Quintin Glassing drew the praise of Voorhees after the disappointing loss. 

“We showed a lot of character coming back and the seniors showed great leadership,” Voorhees said. “They never quit and we are going to miss them next season. I am super proud how they never gave up on themselves or each other.”