Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Mater Dei Leaves State Hungry

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Mater Dei Leaves State Hungry

Article excerpt

INDIANAPOLIS - Hot dogs, chips, ice cream and assorted beverages were plentiful at the Mater Dei High School Men's Club tailgater at the State Museum Lawn in White River State Park. Dan Ritter, father of Wildcats pitcher Joe Ritter, helped set up the gathering, which drew an estimated 200 to 250 people, before they headed to Victory Field for the Class 2A state championship baseball game Saturday.

"After the game, we'll go back over to the park to celebrate," Ritter said beforehand.

Instead of a celebration, however, Mater Dei's players were left to ponder the crazy game of which they were part.

No. 1 Northfield defeated the unranked Wildcats 3-2, but that only begins to tell the story. Mater Dei had two runners nailed in a rundown between third and home. The Wildcats left Hunter Owen stranded with the tying run on third with no outs in the bottom of the sixth and Jake Fleming on second with no outs in the seventh.

It was especially difficult to stomach for senior football players such as Owen and Cody Hess, who were part of a team that simply was outmanned in a 41-17 loss to Fort Wayne Bishop Luers last fall in the 2A state championship game. That was not the case Saturday. Even though Northfield was ranked No. 1 and Mater Dei is 18-14-1, the Norsemen were not head and shoulders a better team.

"Me and Cody have been really good friends all four years," said Owen, whose triple drove in Hess to cut Northfield's lead to 3-2 with no outs in the sixth. "We kind of pushed each other in football and baseball. He pushed me in football and I pushed him in baseball. I couldn't ask for a better teammate."

Owen will play baseball for Indiana State University while Hess will play football for Franklin College.

"This was definitely a tough loss," Owen said.

"This was definitely a heartbreaker. We were outplayed in football. In football, they were better than us. It's summer and we've already graduated. It's pretty tough to swallow, knowing I'll never put on a Mater Dei uniform again. …

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