Hauser overcomes slow start for title

HOPE — The way Monday’s game started, it looked like Hauser might have to wait an extra day to clinch the outright Mid-Hoosier Conference baseball title.

But after spotting Morristown three runs in the top of the first, the Class A No. 6 Jets dominated the rest of the game on their way to a 15-3 victory. Hauser can finish a perfect conference season when the two teams meet again today at Morristown.

“We felt like we were playing really well the last few innings,” said Jacob Luken, who went 2 for 4 with a double, a triple and three RBIs. “We just wanted to play quality defense and help our pitcher Trey (Johnson) out.”

Johnson, a freshman lefthander, allowed the first five batters to reach base in the first inning. Following a strikeout, he issued a bases-loaded walk to make it 3-0 before recovering with back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning without any further damage.

After the Jets (15-6, 11-0) scored twice in the bottom of the first, Johnson allowed two hits but no runs in the second. He then allowed no hits and one walk over the final three innings, and that walk was erased on a double play.

“We started the game a little sluggish, and Trey kind of got in a groove there after about six guys,” Hauser coach Nate Long said. “He settled down and was able to throw strikes, and we made plays behind him. I’ve always said all year, when our pitching is good, we have a good chance of winning.”

The hitting came around, too. Johnson helped himself with a game-tying RBI in the third. The Jets took advantage of three Yellow Jackets errors to score four more runs in the inning.

Hauser then scored four times in the third, highlighted by a two-run double from Luken and an RBI-single from Cameron Hartog. Hartog added another RBI-single to cap a four-run fourth.

“I thought we came out and hit the ball well,” Luken said. “We all just wanted to have a good approach at the plate and make their pitchers throw lots of pitches, and we wanted to get pitches that we could hit.”

Hartog finished 2 for 3 with three RBIs. Sean Miller, Sam Meek and Jacob Johnson all went 2 for 3.

The Jets pounded out 12 hits as a team.

“We’ve been hitting the ball the last couple of games pretty good,” Long said. “When we square baseballs up, it’s hard to defend us, and we hit some balls pretty hard tonight.”

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.