One weird inning costs Northview a chance at regional title against Crawfordsville

If ever there was a high school baseball game that could be described as "a pitchers' duel," check out the stats on this one.

It wasn't a double no-hitter, but it was close.

Senior right-handers Caden Schrader of Northview and Purdue-bound Kale Wemer of Crawfordsville each struck out 10 batters and allowed one infield hit. There were no other hits. Schrader even had an inning, the fourth, when he fanned four batters (made possible by a dropped third strike on the third hitter, enabling him to race to first).

But in the end, a weird second inning cost the Knights a chance at winning the Class 3A Mooresville Regional title. The Athenians tallied three unearned runs in winning by a deceiving 4-0 score.

Schrader, who whiffed 13 batters in defeating South Vermillion for the sectional championship Monday at Edgewood, K'd all three Crawfordsville batters he faced in the first inning Saturday.

Meanwhile, Northview went scoreless through two frames, with only Jackson Pierce reaching base on a fielding error.

In the bottom of the decisive second inning, Schrader got the cleanup hitter out before plunking Kaden Patton with a pitch and walking Wemer and Sam Minnette to load the bases. The next batter, Henry Bannon, hit an infield grounder that was bobbled for an error and permitted Patton to score. There should have been at least two outs at this point — a double play was possible on the grounder, but you can't assume that — and Mason McCarty got hit by another Schrader offering to bring home courtesy-runner Daniel Surface for a 2-0 C-ville lead.

Jude Coursey then grounded into a forceout, allowing Minnette to touch home, and Wyatt Motz followed with the Athenians' only hit of the contest. He beat out an infield single that bounced to the right of shortstop Pierce, who tried to throw him out at first. Bannon scored on that play, increasing the margin to 4-0.

Northview's only hit? A lead-off bunt single by Derek Morrison in the third. Zac Buell sac-bunted Morrison over to second, but Wemer punched out the next two batters to escape trouble.

No Knights reached base off Wemer in the fourth through seventh innings. At the same time, only two Athenians reached base in the fourth through sixth and one of them came on that dropped third strike. The other came on a walk.

"Great job by Caden Schrader getting us to where we need to be here competing for a championship," Northview coach Craig Trout told the Tribune-Star afterward. "We had a couple times where we could have made the plays in the field. That's the difference. In a game like this, when you don't make a play sometimes, it'll come back to haunt you. And it got us there a little bit.

"I'm just really proud of these guys and the job they did [this season]."

Trout heaped praise on Wemer, who didn't walk a batter, as well.

"He's got a great fastball, a wipeout slider," Trout emphasized. "Kale Wemer threw a wonderful game. Was very strong. So Crawfordsville is still going to be a problem for some people [in the state tournament]."

Could his hitters have done anything differently against Wemer?

"If anything, we just had to hunt the fastball a little bit more," Trout said. "But once he started to get his slider working, it became more of a problem. For us, we didn't get the hits at the right time and didn't maybe apply enough pressure. But overall, it's been a good season and I'm proud of these guys."

Next season, Schrader plans to be a walk-on for the Indiana State baseball team. He's among the four senior starters whom Trout will lose to graduation.

"It'll be hard to replace those guys," Trout said, looking ahead to 2025. "It's been a really great group. I really enjoyed coaching them. I've been so lucky to have them around.

"We'll do our best spots to fill those spots when they're gone. We've got some sophomore pitching, so we'll try to recover. … We'll be OK."