HSE Baseball Feature — Mark Morrow
The City of Fishers high schools can lay claim to having two of the state’s top programs.
Both the No. 2 Fishers Tigers and No. 3 Hamilton Southeastern Royals figure to be pretty dominant in the Hoosier Crossroads Conference this season, not to mention extremely strong sectional contenders.
Despite losing two games in the best-of-3 Mudsock Trophy series that resulted in a 6-3 HSE setback in Saturday’s finale, none of the Royals were moping around after a long team meeting.
The atmosphere and confidence were positive. There was a lot of talk about moving forward.
“We learned a lot about ourselves in this series,’’ said senior catcher Trenton Schneider.
“We discussed some things from throughout the series that we need to work on. It’ll help us as we move ahead.
“We knew that Fishers ‘would bring it’ on Friday. It was a game they had to win. I think we lacked the energy and intensity we needed. But there was no letdown today. We battled….we played hard.’’
Schneider made a huge contribution on Saturday.
He threw two runners out attempting to steal second base. He also got an assist when he threw to first base on a pickoff attempt. The runner took off for second after being caught leaning, and first baseman Owen Callaghan fired to Dalton Hutchinson for the put out.
Schneider doubled in his team’s first run in the fourth inning, while Jacob Daftari followed with a 2-run single to knot the score at 3. Callaghan and Dalton Hutchinson rounded out HSE’s four hits.
The Tigers went ahead to stay at 5-3 in the fifth on a balk, followed by a single from Luke Duermit, who drove in 3 runs on the day and made a pair of superb plays in centerfield.
Coach Scott Henson, whose Royals fell to 7-3 this season, was fairly upbeat as he put things in perspective.
“They’re (Fishers) a good team….so are we. We wouldn’t be in this position (rankings) if we weren’t a good team,’’ he said. They are one of the better Fishers teams to come along in a long time. Maybe the best.
“But like us, they are vulnerable. They have some issues. They made some mistakes in the field, and we struck out a ton of them. We’re still in the conference picture, and we think we’ll be right there in the end.’’
In three games, the HSE pitching staff fanned 36 Tigers, including 16 in last Thursday’s 3-2, 10-inning victory.
“Certainly that’s a positive thing. What we’ve got to do better at the plate,’’ said Henson, whose Royals punched out only 13 hits in the series, 9 fewer that the Tigers.
“We’ve got to do better attacking the fast balls. We started doing damage in this series when we did that. I want them to go up there and attack fast balls.
“Despite the losses, we saw a lot of positive things to go forward. Hitting is up and down. We have been hitting the ball hard, but right at someone — while Fishers found the gaps.’’
Henson said a problem with his team is the inexperience. Six of his players are still first-year starters.
He said that, in baseball, losses are going to happen. “You’ve just got to work had, work to get better. We play a demanding schedule, and we want to be at our best come tournament time.’’
No one is really talking about a “statement’’ game, but the Royals players are looking forward to Monday’s 5:30 p.m. visit by Class 4A No. 1 Carmel.
“The Carmel game is big. They’ve got hitting and pitching. We’ve got to bring it and be at our best,’’ Schneider said, seemingly relaxed, arms folded and flashing a slight smile.
“We respect everybody, but we’re not in awe of anybody,’’ said Henson. “It’s a privilege to play on the this field. We play a lot of big games here. “We might as well get jerseys and put targets on the back of them. They (teams) see the BLUE!
“As far as playing Carmel, it doesn’t matter if they are No. 1, 5 or 623. It’s Carmel. We kind of have an attitude with them. When we play them, we have confidence that we will play well against them.’’
*—Mark Morrow, who has resided in Fishers since 1989, formerly owned Hamilton County Sports Daily. He was inducted into the Indiana Sportswriters-Sportscasters Association Hall of F