Bulldogs complete their journey

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Centerville Bulldogs at Victory Field.

Getting to the state championship game is the difficult part: winning it is just the icing on the cake.
The Centerville Bulldogs baseball team fell short of winning the state championship Friday night when they lost to the Illiana Christian Vikings 10-1. The Bulldogs achieved their stated goal made at the end of the regular season and before the sectional tournament to play six more games. Friday was game six.
Playing on beautiful Victory Field in downtown Indianapolis, on a perfect weather night, the Bulldogs made history for a Wayne County or Tri-Eastern Conference school just by being there. Some might argue that they did not play up to their normal standards, but they competed to the end. They held their heads high when they left Victory Field, wearing medals and carrying the IHSAA Runner-up trophy back to Centerville.
The game started well for the ‘Dawgs. Logan Drook delivered a one-out single up the middle in the top of the first inning. After Viking starter Kevin Corcoran Jr. recorded his second strikeout, Jamari Pamplin stepped to the plate. It was apparent that the Viking scouting report was flawed because the outfielders were playing very shallow. Pamplin responded by hammering the ball over the head of the right fielder for a triple, giving Centerville a quick 1-0 lead.
The two hits the Bulldogs collected in the first inning were the only hits they had in the game.
The lead was short lived. The Vikings manufactured four runs in the bottom of the first inning with the benefit of only one hit. Just about everything that could go wrong for the Bulldogs did. Bulldog starter Logan Drook had trouble finding the strike zone. He issued three walks, hit a batter, threw a wild pitch and then a defensive error behind him allowed the Vikings to bat around and score four runs before the inning ended.
Neither team scored in the second inning.
When Drook opened the third by hitting the lead-off batter and issuing a walk to the next, the Bulldogs made a pitching change, bringing in Jacob Crowe. The Vikings scored two runs on a fielding error and a throwing error before Crowe worked out of the inning with the Bulldogs trailing 6-1.
The Vikings tacked on four more runs in the bottom of the fourth to expand their lead to 10-1.
The Vikings, who only managed one hit through the first three innings, collected four hits in the fourth. They also loaded the bases twice, collecting one run on an error and another from a bases-loaded walk.
The final three innings were scoreless, and the Vikings cruised to their first state title in any sport. The Vikings, who started the season 8-5, won 14 of their final 15 games. The loss for Centerville broke an eight-game win streak.
No player for either team had more than one hit. Jamari Pamplin joined a long list of players who have tripled in the title game. No player has ever had more than one triple in the 2A Championship game.
Left-hander Kevin Corcoran Jr, struck out 10 Bulldogs as the winning pitcher. Logan Drook suffered the loss, his first of the year.
Centerville Head Coach Tracey Crull tried to gather his thoughts after the game, fighting back tears.
“I have been the head coach for 10 years, and I was an assistant coach for 10 years before that,” Crull stated “and I have never been around a team like this. I could not be prouder of them. They are a special group. They have been resilient and determined all season. They just knew they were going to get here. The outcome was not what we wanted but getting here is very special. I think when they look back, they will realize what an accomplishment it was. I will always remember how much they changed the culture at our school and in our community.”
Jamari Pamplin struggled to single out the one thing he would miss most. “I will miss everything,” Pamplin said. “I will miss being around my teammates every day. I will never forget them. It has been an amazing year.”
Centerville (21-6)
1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Illiana Christian (22-7)
4 0 2 4 0 0 0 10
Batteries: Centerville: Drook, Crowe (3) and Collin Clark; Illiana Christian: Corcoran, Jr. (WP) and Aaron Gouwens
Centerville Hits: Drook, Jamari Pamplin
Illiana Christian Hits: Corcoran Jr, Austin Maslanka, Ivan Van Beek, Gabe Van Roekel, Adam Walters

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