LAFAYETTE – Almost 20 minutes had passed since Delphi’s Jaden Roth caught a pop fly in foul territory, sparking a wild celebration that quickly moved through Leming Field before settling near second base.
An announcement was made that a fire engine would wait on the Oracles as their team bus approached the city limits, continuing the party atmosphere that began to build as the fake ball caught by Roth was in the air.
âMemories you will never forget,â said senior Evan Fritz.
There were many memories that day for Delphi, veteran head coach Ryan Long and a dream-seeking program that had been in the works for several years but has now taken another step forward.
Saturday night’s Class 2A regional championship at Central Catholic, a 7-2 victory over No.2 Wapahani, had that Oracle team’s stamp all over it.
Much offense. Superb pitching. And a solid defense.
âWe had a great day in baseball,â said Long, whose team knocked out Rochester 12-5 in the semifinals earlier Saturday.
A day that no one associated with the program, the school and the community will soon forget. But there’s still work to be done and it’s next week that No.6 Delphi will face Eastside with a state final berth on the line.
âWe started with more than that in mind,â said Long, who took Frontier to two half-states before taking over the Oracles program. âWe are certainly not finished. We are doing what we initially thought we could do.
Long’s team accomplished this with their own formula. Relentless hitting order in his approach, a senior pitcher thriving before our eyes and plenty of speed to keep the pressure on the opponents and deliver solid defensive play.
For Fritz, one of the eight seniors, winning this championship was special. He broke his hand in his first season and missed 2020 due to the pandemic making this year an all-or-nothing scenario.
âOur group has come a long way,â said Fritz. âJust to come here and win the sectional and then come to the regional and make a statement, it was remarkable. I’ve never done anything like it on a baseball field – something this big.
The statement came in the second inning when the Oracles punished the Raiders with seven runs, including six with two outs and five hits. Three players – Luke Smock, Chase Long and Gleason – each achieved two runs with a pair of doubles and a single.
Roth’s RBI single began the assault, a Wapahani (29-2) never recovered seeing his 25-game winning streak interrupted and allowed the most points since the season opener against Pendleton Heights, who scored 11.
âIt was huge,â Gleason said. “We’ve had a few runs like that this year coming back from key games but to do it on this type of stage and then score seven was amazing.”
Fritz said the second inning “seemed surreal at one point” when the Oracles sent 11 men home and delivered what would become the knockout blow in that game.
âWe had a bloop and an explosion,â Fritz said. “It was a joy to be a part of it.”
From there, Gleason drove him home.
Although the Raiders had baserunners all night, they never produced more than one hit in a single inning and failed seven, including goals loaded in the fourth.
Gleason allowed five hits, three on goal but 10 strikeouts, including five with runners on base.
âHe did a phenomenal job of keeping them off balance from really powerful and deep training,â Long said.
But Delphi also has a full lineup and it showed its power at the right time on Saturday. It doesn’t matter who is on the mound against the Oracles, who have continued to flex their muscles in attack.
âYou get confidence by putting time into it,â Fritz said. âAfter we won the section we had a day off, but you saw us all on the pitch hitting, even though the coach said we didn’t have to practice. It’s the time we spend off the training ground that makes us feel confident.
DELPHI ROUTES ROCHESTER
When Taylor Landis starts a match on the mound, victories follow.
Lots of victories. And no losses.
Landis maintained his perfect record as the Oracles won the program’s first regional game since 2013. Right-hander Landis is now 14-0 in the last two seasons at the start of a game.
âI’m going game by game and I don’t think about the record,â said Landis. “I try to go out and do my best every game.”
His best was more than enough against the Zebras (19-12), who did not touch the Oracles in the first game of the season.
Landis dispersed seven hits, but struck out seven and limited his walks to three. Rochester’s frontman reached safely in every Landis pitched inning, but he limited the damage to just three runs in 6 1/3 innings.
A big double play helped Landis escape further problems in the bottom of the fourth with the Oracles holding a 4-2 lead.
âHe’s out and thrown well, he’s throwing strikes and he’s a punching guy – as long as he’s throwing strikes the defense works well behind him,â Long said. âWe have great confidence in him. “
Based on the tournament format – with singles matches in the semi-finals and national finals – Saturday could have been Landis’ last start. This does not mean that it will not launch again.
âIt meant a lot to me,â Landis said. âSenior year, last chance I have, and this may be my last start. I wanted to make the most of it. “
He received a lot of help from his offense, which generated 14 hits, including 10 in a three-innings span, as the Oracles moved away.
Smock, Fritz, Chase Long, Jaden Roth and Peyton Roth each had two hits as the Oracles’ offense found its rhythm against starter Brook Beehler. Fritz produced three runs, including a two-run single in the third inning.
Mike Carmine covers Purdue Sports for the Journal & Courier. Email [email protected] and follow on Twitter @carmin_jc
In Kokomo or LaPorte
Delphi (26-6) vs. Eastside (22-5), TBD
DELPHI 7, WAPAHANI 2
Wap 001 010 0 – 2 5 1
Delphi 070,000 x – 7 7 1
W – Gleason. L – Noble. LOB – Wapahani 7, Delphi 4.2B – Henderson (W), Noble (W), D. Dudley (W), Smock (D), Ch. Long (D). SB – Ch. Long (D), J. Roth (D), P. Roth (D), Fritz (D). CS – J. Roth. SF – Gadbury. RBI – J. Roth (D), Smock (D) 2, Gleason (D) 2, Ch. Long (D) 2, Gadbury (W), D. Dudley (W).
DELPHI 12, ROCHESTER 5
Delphi 002 226 0 – 12 14 1
Roch 010 110 2 – 5 7 3
W – Landis. L – Beehler. LOB – Delphi 5, Rochester 4. DP – Delphi. Bag – Worker (D), P. Roth (D), Reinartz (R), Stesiak (R). SB – P. Roth (D) 2, Smock (D), Fritz (D) 2, Ch. Long (D) 2, McCarter (R). E – Fritz (D), Reinartz (R), Ferverda (R), Elliott (R). HBP – by Beehler (Ch. Long), by Huffman (J. Long). RBI – J. Long (D) 2, Fritz (D) 3, Ch. Long (D), C. Long (D), J. Roth (D), P. Roth (D), McCarter (R) 3, McGlothin (R) 2. WP – Landis (D) 2, Beehler (R) 2.