by Gary Andrews
The Wabash Apache baseball team started the season playing in the Blackford invitational Saturday, April 6.
The Apaches broke out the long ball, hitting six home runs for the day to defeat Wes-Del 18-9 in game one to setup the championship game with Muncie Central, who had defeated Blackford. After hitting three home runs in game one, Wabash matched that feat in game two, topping the Bearcats 14-11 to win the tourney.
The Apaches made a statement early, when leadoff hitter Landon Cole blasted a solo shot over the center field fence to start the game. Wabash wouldn’t stop there as Kyle Kelsheimer reached on an error and was brought home with a single from Shea Beauchamp.
Grant Sailors would the lace a line drive single against the fence to put runners on first and third. Beauchamp would then score on a passed ball. Kody Fuller would single and Tyler Brewer walk to load the bases when Isaiah Smith singled home the fourth run of the inning.
The Apaches, behind starting pitcher Roger Davis, were cruising with a 7-3 lead after five innings when the bats went off again.
In the sixth with two out and the bases empty, Smith would draw a walk and steal second. Landon Cole would then single home Smith to lead 8-3. Kelsheimer would reach on an error for the second time before Shea Beauchamp blasted a three run shot to go up 11-3.
Wes-Del, however, would not go away, scoring four runs in the bottom of the inning to make it 11-7 with an inning to go.
The Apache attack was not over as they would erupt for seven runs in the seventh with seven hits that was highlighted by a Tyler Brewer home run to make it 18-7. The shot was Brewer’s first home run of his high school career. Wes-Del would score two runs in the bottom of the inning with two long balls for the final 18-9 score.
Wabash got off to a hot start again in the championship. Landon Cole led off with a single and was brought home by Shea Beauchamp’s second long ball of the day to take a quick 2-0 lead.
Still up just 2-0 going into the third the Apaches would go again. Beauchamp led off with a walk and was drove in with a Roger Davis double. With two outs Devin Bitzel and Tyler Brewer drove in runs with hits and the Apaches led 5-0 after three.
Up 5-0 after four, Wabash looked like they were going to make it a short game. Devin Bitzel would single and Isaiah Smith was hit by a pitch. With runners on 1st and 3rd Landon Cole would lay down a squeeze bunt that scored Bitzel.
An over throw on the same play scored Smith and left Cole on third leading 7-0. Kyle Kelsheimer would then drop down a second squeeze that scored Cole for an 8-0 lead. Shea Beauchamp would launch a shot that is still flying somewhere for his second homer of the game and third of the day to put the Apaches up 10-0.
With everyone thinking the possibility of a five inning game, the Bearcats thought something different, scoring five runs in the bottom of the inning and chasing starting pitcher Grant Sailors from the mound.
The Apaches pushed across one run in the top of the sixth to lead 11-5 before the Muncie momentum made it a nail biter. The Bearcats would score six runs in the bottom of the sixth to knot the score at 11 with an inning to go.
Justin Holley got things going in the seventh with a single and was followed by a single from Tyler Brewer to put runners on first and 3rd. Isaiah Smith would then crunch the 6th Wabash long ball on the day to put the Apaches up 14-11. Smith would then come in to pitch in relief of Holley, hitting the first batter before retiring the next three to seal the win and the tourney.
Landon Cole had 8 hits, including a home run to lead off game one. Shea Beauchamp hit three homeruns and had 8 RBI's to lead the Apache offensive attack. Isaiah Smith and Tyler Brewer also hit a homerun each for Wabash. Eleven Wabash hitters picked up hits on the day.