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BIG PURPLE CHAMPS: Harvey tosses gem

BIG PURPLE CHAMPS: Harvey tosses gem
BIG PURPLE CHAMPS: Harvey tosses gem
Lanesville senior Evan Peele gets a close-up look at the Class 1A Sectional championship trophy after the Eagles defeated Borden 1-0. Photos by Brian Smith

Ten times for each team batters walked back to the dugout from the batter’s box with a strikeout.
Over and over again, Lanesville pitcher Cam Harvey and Borden’s Lucas McNew sent those attempting to put balls in play rethinking at bats.
In a pitcher’s duel that lasted 75 minutes, Harvey and the No. 8 Eagles narrowly defeated the No. 7 Braves for the Class 1A South Central Sectional championship, 1-0. It’s the second straight sectional for the Eagles, who went on to a state runner-up bid a year ago.
‘We played well as a team,’ Harvey said. ‘All my pitches were working well today, fastball and curveball. It all went well and the way we planned.’
Lanesville coach Zach Payne has plenty of confidence in his pitching staff but also tipped his cap to McNew and the Braves.
‘I think Cam Harvey, Lucas McNew and (Lanesville’s) Brenden Bube are the three best pitchers in 1A baseball,’ Payne said. ‘I’ll stand by that. McNew is a heck of a ball player. Last time we played them, we shelled McNew pretty good and he bounced back.’
Three of Lanesville’s four singles came in the bottom of the first, producing the lone run. Falling behind 0-2, Greg Daly smacked a single to center. He was joined on the base paths by Evan Peele when he took the first pitch he saw to the outfield grass.
After a double steal with Daly and courtesy runner Ethan Purdy, Mitchell Bailey came up with the clutch RBI. A ball shot to right center, Borden was unable to make a play on the run, allowing Daly to score.
‘He seems to pitch around me, so I wait until I get my one pitch, regardless of the count,’ Daly said of facing McNew. ‘Our philosophy is to get the first runner on and bring them around.’
Lanesville attempted a squeeze with Harvey at the plate, but the play was snuffed out.
Daly had the team’s fourth and final hit in the bottom of the third. McNew escaped any trouble there by getting Peele to ground into a double play. From the fourth through sixth, McNew retired Lanesville in order.
‘What I told everyone before the game was what could make or break this game is being the first team that scored,’ Harvey said. ‘I felt the first team that scored was probably going to win. We saw Borden as the best team in the sectional and maybe the best team for the tournament.’
With the one run of support, Harvey was in cruise control on the hill. Borden made noise in the second when Dawson Nale led off with an opposite-field double. With one out, Brandon Thompson put down a bunt with Nale at third, but the safety squeeze was batted hard to Harvey. Holding Nale at third, Harvey threw to first for the put out.
Another lead-off hit by Borden, a single from Mason LaGrange in the fourth, saw him stranded at second when Harvey induced outs from three of the next four batters.
Locked in a tough at bat against Borden’s Noah Hart, Harvey got defensive assistance from freshman shortstop Zach Fink. The infielder raced toward the third-base line to make a grab before crashing into the fence, separating him from a throng of Eagles’ fans.
‘Fink and (second baseman) Logan Sutherland made some great plays for us,’ Payne said. ‘Credit to them, those guys have worked hard this year. Logan, gosh, that guy has gotten so much better as the year has gone on. He’s reliable for us out there. He made mistakes early in the year and has battled through.
During the final three innings, Harvey recorded six of his 10 strikeouts.
‘He hit a lot of spots,’ Daly said of Harvey. ‘I couldn’t be more proud of a guy for going out there and shutting down Borden. This is always a very competitive opponent.’
McNew sent a one-out single to left in the sixth but was later thrown out trying to steal third. Before Peele threw down for the out, Harvey struck out Travis Konermann.
‘(Harvey) was on fire, to say the least,’ Peele said. ‘It was probably the best game he’s pitched all year. He walked into this game feeling confident. Our defense carried us.’
The win moves Lanesville to the four-team Loogootee Regional, where the Eagles will face the host school at 11 a.m. on Saturday. The opposite semi-final will pit Northeast Dubois against Trinity Lutheran at approximately 1 p.m. The championship is slated for 8 p.m.
Fresh off a deep run a year ago, the Eagles are poised with confidence to defend a regional championship.
‘Last year, going into the postseason, no one thought we’d go as far as we did, but now we have the mindset of we can do it all over again,’ Harvey said. ‘Having 11 seniors, we know we are a strong team. We feel we are stronger one through nine in our lineup.’
Payne said his Eagles, now 17-6, are ready for the next step.
‘Our kids come into it with a chip on their shoulder,’ the coach said. ‘We felt like we came up short in a game at the end of the year where we didn’t give it our best shot. The kids feel they can do it again and win one more game.’

Borden 000 000 0 ‘ 0 3 0
Lanesville 100 000 x ‘ 1 4 0
W ‘ Harvey, L ‘ McNew.