Lafayette wins third straight in NEMCABB Tournament, advances to final day of championships
Commodores outlast Ripley in pitching duel
The two games Lafayette played on Wednesday in New Albany looked quite different. The Commodores pulled through late to beat Ripley 3-0 to start their day and advance to the quarterfinals.
Both pitchers controlled the game for much of the early innings. No runs were scored until the final inning, despite both schools having a handful of runners able to get on base.
With their backs against a time limit in a scoreless game, Lafayette came through when they needed to in the top of the seventh. After a handful of leadoff doubles that amounted to nothing earlier in the game, Lafayette finally put it together in the seventh inning with their backs against the wall.
A leadoff single and a walk forced the Ripley’s starting pitcher out of the game before the damage truly was done. The Ripley reliever struggled throwing strikes, walking his first batter to load the bases.
“Through the spring there was a lot of games that we got behind early and we just stayed the course,” Lafayette head coach John Walker said. “We just figured out how to win it late and these guys – these guys never panicked and they did what they do.”
Hunter Coleman would bring the stalemate-breaking damage. Coleman took a ball deep over the center fielder’s head, resulting in a two-run go-ahead double. The Commodores tacked on one more run on a passed ball to get to the final score of 3-0.
Lafayette comes back again to down Saltillo in North-Half rematch to advance to semifinals
Late inning magic was the story of Wednesday in New Albany.
Where the first game of the Commodores was marked by strong pitching, the second was quite different. Lafayette struggled to generate offense against Ripley but started on a hot streak in part two of their doubleheader. However, so did Saltillo.
Lafayette strung together a pair of two out hits in the first inning to get started in their 9-6 win over Saltillo in the NEMCABB quarterfinals.
The Commodores would put up three in the first inning behind a pair of two-out hits, aided by a walk and an error. But Saltillo didn’t need much time to take things back. The Tigers scored four in the bottom of the first, all with one out off a handful of pretty well hit balls. Three runs were scored in the first game alone, and seven were put up in the first inning of the second Commodore game.
With runners on second and third in a tie game with one out, Lafayette had a chance in the fourth inning to break the 5-5 tie. They wouldn’t muster up a hit, but they would get the critical sixth run on a wild pitch that scored the runner from third.
Lafayette had another late rally in them – this time all with two outs. With a 6-6 game in the final inning, Connor Rucker singled with two outs. He then stole second and scored on an RBI single from Wilson Varner. Hunter Coleman’s day wasn’t done. Coleman put the game out of hand with a two-run homer to make it 9-6.
“It was a fastball town the middle and a little elevated,” Coleman said of the ball he drove out of the park. “We knew we had to do something right there. We knew someone had to come through and we were able to.”
The game was a pseudo-rematch of the 2019 North Half final, when Lafayette beat Saltillo in three games to advance to the state championship. This time around, Lafayette took it to them again.
With the win, Lafayette advances to the final day of the NEMCABB Championship. They’ll play tomorrow at 4 p.m. against either East Union, Bruce or Pine Grove, with a trip to the championship game one the line.
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