WABASH, Ind. — Elwood entered Saturday night’s Wabash Regional baseball finals riding the high emotions of its come-from-behind victory in the semifinals. Unfortunately for the Panthers that was not enough to overcome top-rated Wapahani and a lights-out pitching performance.
Wapahani starting pitcher Zach Thompson dominated the Elwood hitters as the Panthers fell to the Raiders 4-0 at Chris Rood Field on the campus of Wabash High School.
“Tough way to go out,” Elwood coach Andy Garcia said. “We knew it coming into it.”
The Panthers struggled offensively against the sophomore hurler who recorded 17 strikeouts and allowed just two hits in the complete game shutout.
Eleven of the first 12 Elwood outs were via the strikeout, including the first seven. Thompson was responsible for all three outs in four of the seven innings. His defense recorded just three outs.
The other Panthers' out came when Greyson Savage was picked off first base to end the fifth inning.
“I think he is the best we have ever seen,” Garcia said of Thompson. “He has got a great curveball. Early on, it looked like he was locating the outside pretty well — good spot pitching.”
Wapahani coach Brian Dudley has coached high school baseball for 31 years and ranks Thompson’s performance high on his list of player performances.
“It was one of the best — when you strike out 17 of 21 outs that is pretty doggone good,” he said. “He was really composed today from the first pitch to the last pitch. It was just lights out.”
Jared Bourff got the first Elwood hit with one out in the bottom of the fourth inning and went to second on a fielding error by Drew Brant, but the senior went no further.
Elwood managed just four other base runners, one of which was a seventh-inning triple by Denver Mays as Collin Hoots lost the high fly ball in the dark sky.