The civil defense sirens sounded at noon on Saturday in Clarksville for five long minutes. For those who believe in signs and irony, those sirens coincided with the time in the Class 2A regional baseball semifinal between Providence and No. 7 Evansville Mater Dei in which Mater Dei attacked and put an end to Providence’s tournament hopes.
After five innings, Providence and Mater Dei found themselves deadlocked in a scoreless tie.
When the Wildcats came to bat in the top of the sixth, the sirens began. When their time at the plate ended, they possessed a 5-0 lead, which held up as the final score.
For the Pioneers, the day was a frustrating one in ways. They mounted scoring attacks only to have Mater Dei pitcher Chase Partain snuff out the rally.
One inning in particular fairly represented the way Providence nearly scored, but could not.
In the bottom of the third, the Pioneers loaded the bases on two singles and a base on balls with one out. But then Tre Watson hit a screamer right at the Mater Dei second baseman, and the Wildcats turned the double play that ended the threat.
Providence pitcher Austin Dickey likewise pitched well and allowed his defense to help him out of Mater Dei scoring opportunities. In the second inning, left fielder Jay Lorenz threw out a runner at home who was attempting to score on a two-out single.
Lorenz also made a couple of other good catches on liners to keep the Pioneers in the game.
“Both teams felt like they had runners in scoring position on a regular basis. Both pitchers did a good job of shutting the other team down,” said Providence coach Scott Hornung.
“We didn’t do anything to shoot ourselves in the foot. We had opportunities on the bases. It boiled down to they [Mater Dei] got a hit in the situation and we didn’t get the hit.”
In the sixth inning, the sirens blared as Mater Dei came to bat, and were continuing when Seth Kruse singled with one out.
That was followed by Matt Seitz getting hit with a pitch. The next batter, Blake Wilderman, singled home Kruse for the game’s first run. Wilderman’s single appeared to be going to Watson at shortstop for an inning-ending double play. But Dickey deflected the ball, causing Watson to have to reverse course, and the ball went just out of his reach for the single.
It appeared that Dickey was going to get out of the jam without further damage when Andy DeWeese popped up to short for the second out. But Dickey then walked Luke Schapker to load the bases.
Hornung relieved Dickey with Ryan Mueller, who walked Jake Zigenfus and sent home Seitz for the second run. Mater Dei’s Will LaRue then cleared the bases with a triple, giving the 5-0 score.
“Our bases-loaded play early in the game, and our guy hits a rocket right to them for a double play,” said Hornung. “Then their situation there when they scored their runs, the ball deflects off the pitcher’s glove. It would have been a double play for the shortstop. That’s just the way the ball goes sometimes in this game.”
The Pioneers staged mild rallies in the sixth and seventh innings, but came up empty-handed. They had two runners on with two outs in the sixth, but a fly ball to center ended the inning. Then in the seventh, two walks and a single loaded the bases with two outs, but Watson lined hard to the left fielder to end the game.
Providence ends the season with a record of 18-11, while Mater Dei advanced to 21-9. The Wildcats defeated No. 5 Austin in Saturday’s championship in eight innings, 2-1. Dickey (3-3) took the loss, while Partain pitched a complete game for the win.
“It was a great season for us. With a lot of young players on the field, I’m excited about the prospects for us as they move forward,” said Hornung, who completed his 20th season as coach of Providence baseball.
The Pioneers lose only Ben Shahroudi, Drew Brock and Jack Koetter to graduation.
CLASS 2A PROVIDENCE REGIONAL
EVANSVILLE MATER DEI 5, PROVIDENCE 0
Ev. Mater Dei 000 005 0—5 8 0
Providence 000 000 0—0 6 1
W — Chase Partain. L — Austin Dickey (3-3). 2B — Parker Graf (P). 3B — Will LaRue (MD).
Records — Evansville Mater Dei 21-9, Providence 18-11.