ELKHART — Central pitcher Riley Futterknecht started the championship of the Class 4A Elkhart Sectional baseball tournament for the third straight year.
This time, the left-hander got to finish what he started and helped the No. 2-ranked Blue Blazers beat crosstown rival Memorial 3-1 Tuesday, May 28, at Memorial’s Charger Field.
Futterknecht (7-0) tossed 116 pitches and struck out 12 while allowing two hits, four walks and hit batsman as Central improved to 28-1 with its 21st straight victory.
In three sectional victories, Blazers pitchers piled up 38 strikeouts and gave up one run. Senior lefty Tanner Tully fanned 14 in a 3-0 win against Concord Friday, May 24, and senior right-hander Cory Malcom whiffed 12 in a 5-0 triumph against Northridge Saturday, May 25.
The Blazers will meet South Bend Clay in the second semfinal at the LaPorte Regional Saturday, June 1. The first semifinal (Lake Central vs. the LaPorte Sectional winner, to be determined Wednesday, May 29) is at 11 a.m. (Elkhart time). The championship is at 8 p.m.
Central, which had beaten Memorial 18-2 during the regular season, scored twice in the second inning of the rematch.
Senior Casey Ianigro led off with a single and scored on senior Austin McArt’s triple. McArt trotted home on senior Mike Namisnak’s single.
Ianigro, who ended up with two hits each in three sectional victories, bats No. 6 in the Blazers batting order while McArt is No. 7 and Namisnak No. 9.
In the fourth, lead-off man Tully hit a two-out double and scored on a single by senior No. 2 hitter Kaleb DeFreese to account for the Blazers’ other run.
Memorial (7-24), which fielded a starting lineup with four sophomores (Robert Asbury, Scottie Clark, Cameron Maxwell and Derrick Oley), three juniors (Brock Herman, Dallas Russell and Jake Tucker) and two seniors (Daniel Asbury and Trey Solomon), got its run in the fifth when Herman was plunked by a pitch, went to third on Russell’s single and came home on the front end of an attempted double steal.
4A Elkhart Sectional
Central 3, Memorial 1
Memorial 000 010 0 — 1 2 1
Central 020 100 0 — 3 9 2
Scottie Clark (L, 3-7), Jake Tucker (4), Brock Herman (6) and Robert Asbury; Riley Futterknecht (W, 7-0; 12 strikeouts) and Kyle Smith.
Central: Hits — Tanner Tully 2, Casey Ianigro 2. 3B — McArt. 2B — Tully, Matt Eppers.
U — Steve Kazjer, plate; Adam Tomlinson, first base; Frank Tasler, third base. T — 1:46.
Records: Central 28-1, Memorial 7-24.
Next: Central vs. SB Clay in semifinals of Class 4A LaPorte Regional Saturday, June 1, following 11:30 a.m. game; championship at 8 p.m.