Andrean beats Griffith 11-1 and St. Joseph's 2-1 for Class 3A Regional title

A Special Report by Mark Smith


Griffith coach Brian Jennings (left) and Andrean coach Dave Pishkur talk over the ground rules at Griffith before the regional semifinal game.
(All photos by Mark Smith)
Long time Andrean coach Joe Plesac, left, calls pitches from the dugout at the Griffith Regional. 59er pitching gave up just one run in reaching the regional game.
Kyle Iwinski (14) heads for home after his homer produced the Panthers only run against Andrean.
Andrean's Joel Holtcamp (10) scores in the 59ers' seven run fourth inning in the regional semifinals.
Griffith's Andrew Garcia (16) looks ahead to a better day late in the regioannal game against Andrean. Of the 17 players on Griffith's playoff roster, only one was a graduating senior.
Catcher Jacob Mullen (16) and pitcher Clay Thompson (9) plot strategy in the regional semifinal against Andrean.
Andrean's Nick Fushi (15) pulls down a fly ball by St. Joseph's Hunter West (9) to end the second inning of the regional championship game.
Andrean's Zach Kammer (14) leads off against Griffith first baseman Xavier Romero (24) in the regional semifinal at Griffith.
Andrean's Joe Rycerz (24) rounds third and heads for home in the regional semifinal against Griffith. Rycerz drove in what turned out to be the winning run in both 59er regional wins.
That's Clay Thompson (9) letting everybody know that his team came out on top after Andrean defeated Griffith 11-1 and St. Joseph's 2-1 to win the Class 3A Griffith regional championship.  (All photos by Mark Smith)

Copyright 2018 and Meyer Multimedia Services, a division of Meyer Broadcasting Corp.  All rights reserved.
Revised: June 25, 2018.


Team (Record) / Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
GRIFFITH (22-9) 0 0 0 0 1 - - 1 1 1
ANDREAN (27-5) 0 0 4 7 - - - 11 10 0

Saturday, June 2, 2018  - 67 degrees, Class 3A Regional Semifinal in GRIFFITH, IN

WP: Clay Thompson (7-2) CG, 5K, 2 walks, WP
(68 pitches)
LP: Johnny Maynard (4-3) 3K, 2 walks (2.3 inn.
66 pitches), 2 HBPs

Griffith (22-9)
Julian Rutheford (2B) 0-for-1, walk
AJ Wright (3B) 0-for-1, sac bunt
Zavier Romero (1B) 0-for 2
Bubba Davenport (DH) 0-for-2
Johnny Maynard (P) 0-for-2
Kyle Iwinski (CF) 1-of-2, HR, RBI
Gabe Pulido (C) 0-for-1, walk
Cody Wilkins (RF) 0-for-2
Cole Cervantes (SS) 0-for-2

ANDREAN (27-5)
Charlie Jones (2B) 0-for-1, HBP, Sac bunt, walk
Tyler Nelson (SS) 1-for-3, RBI
Clay Thompson (P) 1-for-1, Sac Fly, walk, RBI
Mike Doolin (3B) 1-for-2, HBP, RBI
Joe Rycerz (1B) 1-for-2, double, Int. walk
Tom Schultz (DH) 1-for-2, double, RBI
Joel Holtcamp (LF) 0-for-3
Nic Fushi (CF) 2-fro-3, triple, 2 RBI
Matt Lelito (RF) 2-for-3, 2 RBIs

Team (Record) / Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
ANDREAN (28-5) 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 5 1
ST. JOSEPH (21-4) 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 1

Saturday, June 2, 2018  - 67 degrees, Class 3A Regional Championship in GRIFFITH, IN

WP: Mike Doolin (7-2) 11K, 5 walks, WP
(124 pitches)
SAVE (Andrean) Clay Thompson, 2K, 0 walks (2/3 inn. - 12 pitches)
LP: Mike Dunkelberger (7-2) CG, 13 K, 2 walks (110 pitches)

St. Joseph's (21-4)
Andrew Washburn (CF) 0-for-3
Nick Dolniak (RF) 0-for-2, walk
Alex Voss (DH) 0-for-2, walk
Luke Houin (3B) 0-for-2, walk
Kery Zeese 8(1B) 1-for-r3, double
Brady Gyumpf (C) 0-for-3
Pat Farrisee (LF) 0-for-2, walk
Hunter West (2B) 0-for-3
Riley Fraleigh (SS) 0-for-3

ANDREAN (27-5)
Charlie Jones (2B) 0-for-1, HBP, Sac bunt, walk
Tyler Nelson (SS) 1-for-3, RBI
Clay Thompson (P) 1-for-1, Sac Fly, walk, RBI
Mike Doolin (3B) 1-for-2, HBP, RBI
Joe Rycerz (1B) 1-for-2, double, Int. walk
Tom Schultz (DH) 1-for-2, double, RBI
Joel Holtcamp (LF) 0-for-3
Nic Fishi (CF) 2-fo-3, triple, 2 RBI
Matt Lillito (RF) 2-for-3, 2 RBIs

GRIFFITH (06-02-2018) The best high school games often come about when two teams that win most of the time and think they should win most all the time, go head-to-head.

And neither side is sure who's going to win.

That was the Class 3A Griffith Regional championship game with defending state champion (South Bend) St. Joseph's taking on 3A No. 1 Andrean.

It was a moment. And Joe Rycerz' second-inning leadoff homerun was the difference in a high class pitching duel as the 59ers won 2-1.

St. Joseph left-hander Mike Dunkelberger pitched a complete game victory in the 2017 state championship game, but the 59ers took the early lead against him on this night with senior Clay Thompson's first inning RBI single and Rycerz home run into the Griffith parking lot beyond left center field.

But Dunkelberger, who will play for Indiana University in 2019, allowed nothing else, finishing with 13 strikeouts.

Andrean's 6-foot-3 junior right-hander Mike Doolin held that lead into the fifth inning when an RBI double by St. Joe's Kerry Zeese cut the lead to 2-1. Doolin struck out six of the next nine hitters but had to leave the game on pitch count rules (126 pitches) with one out and a runner at first base in the seventh inning.

Thompson, who pitched the morning semifinal 11-1 win over Griffith, came on in relief and struck out St. Joe's Hunter West and Riley Fraleigh to end the game.

"I knew I was coming in," said Thompson, who came through when his team needed him most. "I warmed up between innings. I really haven't come in in relief since the first game of the season."

Andrean-St. Joe was big and all the players on both sides knew it.

"We knew it would be us and them from the start of the season," said Thompson. "They won 3A last year. But we were looking forward to this. I know they were too. As long as we score first, we're fine. As a pitcher, all you have to do then is throw strikes."

Andrean's longtime coach Dave Pishkur knew he'd need a relief pitcher and he decided to go with a senior.

"I had a Clay, who threw 65 pitches in the first (semifinal) game," Pishlkur explained. "If we were going to lose, we might as well lose with a senior who helped get us here."

"He said his arm was fine and that's all I needed to hear."

Doolin, touted as Andrean's best pitcher all season, know it was big to go against Mike Dunkelberger, the winning pitcher in the 2017 state 3A championship game.

"My emotions were going crazy before the game," said Doolin, who hid that fact once he took the mound.

"I don't think I've ever been so nervous. It was a whole different atmosphere with what was on the line. I'm so proud of our team. They got me two runs early and that's what I needed."

Andrean coached Dave Pishkur didn't want to say that he knew both teams would get to this point.

"Both teams did have to get here," he said. But I don't think anyone was disappointed in the game. It was well played."

Pishkur understood what pressure was on Doolin.

"It's more than you might think," he said. "His older brother (Matt played on the 2009 and 2010 state champs) played on two state title teams. Mike has always been well aware of that. He says "I can't graduate until I win at least one."

The 59ers have a strange way of looking at strategy. They want to be the road team so they can bat first.

"I pray that we're the away team (in the state tournament so we can go out and get a couple of runs first."

Pishkur didn't seem to agree 100% with his boys' philosophy of wanting to bat first in what figures to be a close game.

"Well," he said. "If we do score first it's great. We scored two runs early tonight. I enjoyed this game now that we won. But in the sectionals, we were up 15 going to the last inning. That was a lot easier, I must admit. But this game could go a long way for us. Defending state champions. Close, tough game. State champion pitcher.

"The more games you play like this the better off you become. That's the first close game we've had in the post-season."

"We knew we'd meet. We talked about it at camps last summer. And before the game tonight, we were both talking about how what we thought would happen was about to happen."

REGIONAL NOTES: Andrean moved on to the state championship game last Saturday with a 13-2, five-inning win over over-matched Jay County in the 3A Semistate.

Senior Tom Schultz had a double and three RBIs. Sophomore Tyler Nelson added two hits and two RBIs. Junior Mike Doolin struck out nine in five innings and added a two-run single at the plate.

St. Joseph's went 25-4 last season and won the 2017 Class 3A state championship with a 4-0 win over Jasper (30-5). In that game Mike Dunkelberger, then a junior, allowed just three hits and two walks in a 96-pitch complete game. Eight of the 10 players (counting the designated hitter) who started for St. Joe on that day in Indianapolis, started for the Indians again Saturday (June 2) in Griffith.

Andrean junior Mike Doolin says he likes the IHSAA's pitch count rules, which take a starting pitcher out of the game after he passes the 110 pitch mark.

"I do," he said. "It hurt me tonight when I had to come out, but it saves arms. I really think it does."

2018 CROWN POINT Bulldogs (15-6)
19-9 (2017) 19-9 (2016), 25-6 (2015), 17-13 (2014) 7-17 (2013)
Coach Steve Strayer (22nd year)
Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) games in CAPs

March 26 (L) 1-4 Hanover Central
March 29 (W) 12-0 Bishop Noll
March 31 (W) 5-3 Boone Grove
April 7 (W) 13-1 at (Lafayette Jefferson
April 7 (W) 9-0 at (Lafayette) Jefferson
April 10 (L) 4-10 LAKE CENTRAL (15-3)
April 11 (L) 6-7 (9 inn.) LAKE CENTRAL (15-3)
April 12 (W) 8-7 CHESTERTON
April 17 (W) 1-0 MICHIGAN CITY
April 19 (W) 5-0 CHESTERTON
April 24 (L) 2-4 at LaPORTE
April 25 (W) 5-2 LaPORTE
April 26 (W) 12-7 (8 inn.) at MICHIGAN CITY

Noblesville Invitational
April 28 (L) 5-6 (Louisville, Ky.) St. Xavier (21-0)
April 28 (W) 12-0 Noblesville (3rd place)

May 1 (W) 18-13 at VALPO
May 4 (L) 5-6 VALPO
May 4 (W) 8-4 at Munster
May 5 (W) 4-1 Andrean (16-4)
May 8 (W) 10-0 at MERRILLVILLE (1-12-1)
May 9 (W) 7-3 (6 inn.) MERRILLVILLE (1-12-1)
May 11 (Fri.) Hobart (13-6) 7 p.m.
May 12 (Sat) at Highland
May 15 (Mon) PORTAGE (10-6)
May 16 (Tues.) at PORTAGE (10-6)
May 19 (Sat) Plymouth (10-8 ) 10 a.m.
May 19 (Sat) McCutcheon (18-3) 5 p.m.

Merrillville (4A) Sectional
May 23 (Wed.) Hobart (13-6)
May 25 (Fri.) Chesterton (10-4)