Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Wildcats, Titans Eye State Titles ; Both Must Knock off Top-Ranked Teams

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Wildcats, Titans Eye State Titles ; Both Must Knock off Top-Ranked Teams

Article excerpt

One thing is for certain: if Mater Dei and Gibson Southern capture state baseball championships Saturday, they will have earned them. Both teams will have to knock off top-ranked teams in their respective classes to win state titles. No. 7 Mater Dei (23- 9) will face Wapahani (29-4) at 3 p.m. CDT in the Class 2A title game at Victory Field in Indianapolis. No. 9

Gibson Southern (24-7) will meet Andrean (30-4) at 6 p.m. for the 3A championship.

"I know that (Mater Dei coach) Steve (Ricketts) has his hands full, too," said Titans coach Chris May. "I wish him luck. But when you get to this point, whether you're No. 1 or not, I think the best two teams are left. Somehow we've won and somehow we've managed to get by some pretty good ball teams."

Blake Wilderman, Ben Sellers and Jake Fleming were reserves on Mater Dei's team that lost 3-2 to Northfield in the 2A title contest in 2012. The Wildcats missed all sorts of opportunities in letting that game slip away.

"That's what our goal is - not just to be happy to be there, but to do what we need to do to bring home a state championship," said Ricketts, who was an assistant coach under Jeff Schulz two years ago.

Mater Dei has experienced a wealth of success in baseball, but only owns one state title, in 2A in 1999. The Wildcats tied for second in the Southern Indiana Athletic Conference this year with a 9-5 record, and ousted 2A No. 2 South Spencer and No. 5 Austin in the postseason.

"The biggest thing, the thing we preached from the very beginning of the season, is to keep getting better," Ricketts said. "If we have that great regular season and win the conference, that's great, but we want to be playing our best baseball at the end of the season, come tournament time. These kids bought into that."

Chase Partain, a senior left-hander who is 10-1 with a 1.69 earned-run average, is expected to start on the mound for the Wildcats.

"I'll tell you what, he's a gamer," Ricketts said. Sellers, a junior lefty who is 6-2 with a 2. …

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