A late six-run sixth inning helped push the Altamont Indians over the Casey-Westfield Warriors 7-0 to advance to the IHSA Class 1A St. Anthony Regional Championship.
There were only three hits from both teams going into the bottom of the sixth as the Indians held onto a 1-0 lead and only one of those came from the Warriors. Jacob Hammer faced 24 batters this game and struck out three and had only two walks. He was being affected on the mound as he threw 73 pitches compared to the 122 total from the Warriors pitchers.
“You can tell when he shows up for a game and he’s locked in and he was locked in,” head coach of the Indians Alan Whitt said. “Can’t say enough about him. I think he was throwing three, four miles an hour faster than he normally does. Then his curveball was working and he has a great changeup that nobody sees until that fastball starts working and it was working today. Made that changeup even more devastating.”
“We had our coach scout the team beforehand and he told us the few kids we need to look out for and attack the strike zone. I thank God for the ability he’s given me to pitch baseball like this,” Hammer said. “I was going into the sixth inning and I had 65 pitches. Curve ball was working really good today. The change-up, I didn’t throw it as much but lots of fastballs with movement.”
Hammer made Warriors hitters ground out 11 times in the game.
“Coach just said ‘aim low, be low in the strike zone. Throw your changeup low. All your pitches just aim low so they can’t hit the ball out,’” Hammer said.
The Indians walked four times in a row to get on the bard in the bottom of the second.
“We faced a really good pitcher. He kept us off balance. That curve ball kept us off balance all night. He did a real good job. We did a real good job in that second inning. Patience and pushing across the run,” Whitt said. “I’m guessing he got a little worn out there at the end and we finally pushed him out of the game and when we did it was like the guys really woke up and hit the ball hard.”
Hammer got on base to start the bottom of the sixth inning and stole second and reached third on the throwing error from the catcher. Noah Teasley singled up the middle to bring in Hammer. Bradin Baucum tripled across Teasley. Dawson Guerrettaz doubled in Baucum and Grant Schmidt doubled for another run. The Indians put two more runs on the board on sacrifice hits to take a 7-0 lead.
“We just wanted to put together quality at bats. Quality at bats and quality at bats,” Whitt said. “They started and unfortunately for the kid that came in relief, he let the ball up a couple of times and we took pretty good advantage of it.”
Altamont will face St. Anthony for the regional championship on Saturday at 11 a.m.
St. Anthony 21, Neoga 0 F/4
The St. Anthony Bulldogs powered in 16 runs in the third inning to get over the Neoga Indians 21-0.
Blake Niebrugge went 2-3 on the day with a double and a home run. He knocked in four runs. Aaron Webb went a perfect 3-3 from the plate and also knocked in four runs. Dylan Guy had two doubles. Logan Antrim doubled and had two RBIs. Jack Hoene went three innings on the mound giving up two hits and struck out four. Antrim went one inning of relief striking out a batter.
The Indians had two hits which came from Nate Lacy and Chase Lanham. Luke Romack went one inning of work giving up five runs on two hits. Lanham pitched one and 2-3 inning giving up six hits and eight runs.