The momentum from Whiteland’s first-round victory against No. 2 Center Grove last Wednesday didn’t carry through the weekend.
A pair of early two-run home runs from Franklin Central catcher Cade Fitzpatrick created a hole the Warriors couldn’t dig out of in a 7-0 semifinal loss at the Class 4A Martinsville Sectional on Monday morning.
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Greenwood, the last remaining county team in the bracket, lost the second semifinal game to the host Artesians, 10-0.
The Warriors (17-10) gave up just one hit in the first inning of the opener, but it was a biggie. With two out and a runner on, Fitzpatrick took a Luke Helton delivery deep to give the Flashes a quick 2-0 edge. He added another two-run shot to straightaway center in the third to double that lead.
That was ample cushion for Franklin Central hurler Matt Hall, who was every bit as sharp Monday as he had been when fanning 14 in a first-round shutout victory over Franklin.
Hall didn’t allow a Whiteland hit until the fourth inning, and promptly got that runner erased on a double play. The only trouble he faced came in the bottom of the sixth, when the Warriors loaded the bases with one out but still came up empty.
Ryan Glithero and Lukas Cline had the only Whiteland hits against Hall, who struck out nine and walked three in six innings.
“I didn’t think we played terrible,” Whiteland coach Scott Sherry said. “We just, obviously, didn’t hit. You have two hits on the day, you’re not going to win very many games.”
Helton, who had pitched a two-hitter and struck out 17 against the Trojans last week, exited down 6-0 after five innings. The Flashes (12-16) tacked on a run against reliever Tyler Wick in the sixth.
The Warriors figure to look quite a bit different next spring, with 13 seniors graduating off of the current team.
“It’s going to be tough,” Sherry said. “Some of them are three- or four-year players. We’re just going to have a whole new lineup; I hope our young guys are paying attention.”
In the nightcap, Greenwood starter Oliver Rau came out strong before getting into trouble in the third. A leadoff walk, a bunt single and two errors allowed the Artesians to steal a pair of runs and grab the upper hand.
Martinsville (21-7) added runs in the fourth and sixth innings, both knocked in by catcher Andrew Payton, then blew it open with six more in the seventh after a 50-minute weather delay.
The Woodmen, meanwhile, struggled to make headway against Artesian hurler Michael Hoppel, who walked three in five innings but allowed just two hits, a third-inning base knock by Josh Rugenstein and an infield single by Cameron Crick in the fifth. Greenwood (2-22) didn’t get a runner to second base safely until the bottom of the seventh inning.
“I thought it was kind of a sum of our season,” Woodmen coach Andy Bass said. “Ten runs on four hits. Too many walks, too many hit by pitches, too many little errors where we don’t catch a ball, we don’t set our feet, or we bobble it and give up an extra base. And then we’ve got to hit the ball, and we haven’t done that.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do, but there’s talent there. The good news is you’ve only got four seniors; you’ve got a lot of young guys playing. … A lot of guys coming back, but they’ve got to get better.”