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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Home run derby sends Eagles over Mater Dei 7-6

Monday, June 7, 2010

South Putnam's Brayden Freeman (shown here at home) hit the game-winning home run in the first game of the Linton-Stockton Regional Saturday. [Order this photo]
LINTON -- In a game filled with home runs, in the end, it only took one: One pitch, one swing and one out of the park by Braden Freeman in the seventh inning.

The shot cleared the fences and sealed Evansville Mater Dei's fate, defeated 7-6 by South Putnam despite Evansville's three-run rally late in a nail-biter of a game.

Five home runs by the Eagles, two of those batting in an additional run, told the tale, with Freeman's single shot across the fences as the sole South Putnam swing of the seventh feathering the nest for the finale.

The Eagles won a surprise upset over the Wildcats, favored by many prognosticators to take the Class 2A Regional 12.

And, despite lagging behind for much of the opener, the game looked certain to head into extra innings at the very least after a three-run Mater Dei rally.

Instead, South Putnam quickly dashed Evansville's hopes, landing a berth in the championship against the Providence Pilgrims, who defeated host Linton-Stockton 23-3 in the second game of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon.

"That pitcher did a great job," said Mater Dei coach Jeff Schulz, praising Eagle hurler Grant Zimmerman for his efforts shutting down the Wildcats. "We've got some very good hitters, and we just couldn't get a handle on him."

Mater Dei swapped pitchers three times, while Zimmerman remained a constant, but couldn't solve the riddle.

"We had a good pitcher's duel," South Putnam skipper Ryan Gilman said. "Grant did a great job pitching. We got a few home runs, and that helped us a lot, too."

For much of the game, Mater Dei's Wildcats had lagged behind South Putnam 6-3, despite scoring the first run of the game in the opening inning.

South Putnam responded quickly, nabbing three runs in the second inning.

A home run by Mater Dei sophomore Cody Hess on the first throw of the third inning then suggested a rally that nearly became reality.

In the fourth, each squad scored a run.

First, South Putnam senior Nathan Welty's shot cleared the fences, making it a 4-2 game.

A hard smack by Mater Dei sophomore Adam Blankenberger brought home senior outfielder Corbin Green, running the tally to 4-3.

South Putnam pulled ahead decisively 6-3 in the fifth, as a blast by senior John Spencer plated both he and Welty.

For both squads, the sixth inning was scoreless, but Mater Dei made a final attempt to resuscitate its regional hopes.

Green's homer made the score 6-4, and a South Putnam error in the seventh as the infield nearly collided over second base with two outs meant Mater Dei sophomore Hess dodged a bullet.

Had he been tagged, the game would have been over.

Moments later, Evansville capitalized on the error, drawing into striking distance for a win.

The Cats then caught fire in the clutch.

A hard triple which nearly cleared the fences by senior pitcher and shortstop Hank LaRue brought Hess and senior Bradley Wannemuehler home.

That tied the game 6-all.

It wasn't enough -- barely.

Moments later, sophomore Shawn Horty was out on strikes, ending the inning and ringing in South Putnam's final at-bat.

One swing later, Freeman's homer ended Mater Dei's hopes, sending the Eagles soaring into the championship game.

At Linton

Class 2A Linton-Stockton Baseball Regional

Mater Dei 1011003 -- 6

South Putnam 0310201 -- 7