BASEBALL: Berries top Bronchos 3-1 to advance to sectional final

May 25—LAFAYETTE — Carson Dubes went the distance on the mound and Isaac Russell had the go-ahead RBI hit in Logansport's 3-1 sectional win over Lafayette Jeff on Saturday.

The Berries (15-15) advanced to the championship game of Class 4A, Sectional 7 with a win over the host Bronchos (6-21).

The Berries got a second straight strong performance on the mound in a sectional game. After Dylan Pearson pitched a one-hitter in a 2-1 win over Kokomo on Wednesday, Dubes hurled a six-hitter against the Bronchos.

The junior lefthander allowed one walk and one hit batsman while striking out eight.

"It's a great team win. We're playing Logansport baseball finally," Dubes said. "It's a good start to the weekend and we're going into Monday confident."

After a slow start to the season on the mound, Dubes has been good over the second half of the season.

"I had a lot of mechanical changes with how I deliver the ball," he said. "And honestly our team with Isaac coming back has gotten a lot better with our defense. They're stepping up as well. So I think all together everybody's just clicking right now."

The Berries again got just enough offense to survive and advance. They broke through with a three-run fifth inning that proved to be enough.

Micah Rogers led off the fifth with a single to right. Hudson McKinney followed with a successful sacrifice bunt. Bryson Herr popped up to the shortstop for the second out to bring up Russell, who has missed most of the season with a hamstring injury but has returned to the sectional lineup. After striking out in his first two at-bats, Russell singled to center to bring home Rogers and make it a 1-0 game.

"It was two outs going up to bat, Micah was on second, so I just knew I had to get a base hit and get him in," Russell said. "I got a little jam shot but it works, whatever works.

"It feels great being back out there. I've missed playing baseball because I've been hurt all year. I'm so happy to be back out there."

The throw home went over the catcher's head allowing Russell to reach second. He was removed for pinch-runner Camden Chapman and later reentered at shortstop.

The Bronchos removed starting pitcher Aiden Marcus for Miles Williams. Deagan Kitchel greeted Williams with a single to right to score Chapman. Kitchel's hit was similar to Russell's in that they were both a few feet over the leaping second baseman's glove.

Cooper Smith drew a walk to put runners at first and second. With Dylan Pearson at the plate, it appeared the Bronchos might have Kitchel caught in between second and third. Kitchel darted for third and at the same time the catcher's throw went into center field allowing Kitchel to score to make it 3-0.

The Bronchos put some base runners on in the opening innings that were thrown out on the base paths. Logan catcher Jake Fincher threw out a runner trying to steal second in the first inning. He later picked off a runner at first in the second. He picked off a runner at second in the third. He backed up a play in the fifth when third baseman Smith made a bare-handed play but the throw got past first baseman Pearson. But Fincher was backing up the play and threw on to Russell at second for the third out of the inning.

The Bronchos broke through with a run in the sixth. Mason Pechin hit a ground-rule double with one out in what was a bizarre play. It appeared Pearson lost his footing which allowed the ball to get past him at first and the ball rolled out of the stadium as there's entrances in foul territory on both sides of the field that don't have a door or gate and the ball rolled through the entrance out of the field of play. Garrett Rainey followed with a two-out RBI single to left to make it 3-1. But Dubes induced a grounder to second to end the inning.

Kitchel made a nice running catch down the line in right field for the first out of the seventh. Things then got really interesting when Ashton Robertson was hit by a pitch. Or did he? It was questioned whether or not he did. He was awarded first base, which drew an argument from Logansport coach Dan Frye with the umpires, who described what happened from his point of view.

"The batter there said that the curveball hit him in the foot. He took off for first base. The home plate umpire as you saw was absolutely adamant about the ball not hitting him, calling him back from halfway down the line to stay in the batter's box," Frye said. "(Jeff coach) Clayton (Richard) I'm sure asked the umpires to get together. They go down the line and then come back and say he's been hit by the pitch. So I'm assuming that the base umpire said he was hit and I'm kind of hollering at him and they get together again and he tells me the home plate umpire made the call and he made the wrong call. I said, 'no, now you've made the wrong call.' But apparently we have to have some controversy over here.

"It would have been nice to have a few more runs, I don't know if I get quite so animated. I think the umpire had it right the first time. I guess it's kind of tough, I just assumed the base umpire, one of the two said it hit him."

Frye argued but was not ejected in this one and the game resumed. The ruling and delay did not bother Dubes as he got a ground out and a strikeout to end the game as the Berries celebrated another sectional win.

"What a whale of a job done by Carson Dubes," Frye said. "'He was comfortable and appeared to be in command the entire game. Early maybe we got behind a few hitters but he found his command and threw a lot of strikes and our pitch count was down and defense played well. Jake throwing a couple runners out was huge to clear the base pads there. The big thing here is we're fortunate to win and move on to play Monday.

"Their pitchers threw a heck of a game too. They threw the ball hard and they kept us off balance. The Marcus kid seemed to work at his own pace at the start and we were trying to get him to slow down a little bit but we really didn't get a whole lot mounted. But we finally did squeeze through enough runs and we're happy to win and we're happy to be back playing Monday."

The Berries had three of their five hits in the fifth inning. Pearson and Cayden Walker each added a hit.

No. 7-ranked McCutcheon knocked off Harrison 1-0 in the later semifinal behind a first-inning home run by Riley Sands and a shutout victory by Sammy Swank, as the sophomore who has already verbally committed to the University of Kentucky allowed four hits and three walks and struck out 13.

The Berries face the Mavericks (21-4) at noon Monday for the championship.