By Matt Nestor
The Hononegah Indians expected to be toward the top of the heap by season’s end. But they surprised many by winning the NIC-10 conference and only losing one game during the conference season.
Their aim all along was toward the IHSA Class 4A regional, and they took that in convincing fashion, topping the Boylan Titans 6-1 at Harlem Stadium.
Things started off bleak for the Indians. After cruising through an easy first inning, Indians pitcher Jake Lanning gave up a solo home run to Mark Garton to give the Titans an early 1-0 lead.
But Grant Atkins quickly responded the next inning with an RBI single to tie the game in the third, scoring Tanner Rehnberg.
The fourth inning is when everything fell apart for the Titans.
Resident ace pitcher Ryan Scarpetta, who was playing first with Lanning on the mound, led off the inning with a solo home run, his 10th of the season. That was followed by Justin Blevins, who reached on an error by the pitcher.
After three straight walks led to another run to give the Indians a 3-1 lead, that was more than enough for Lanning to finish off the Titans.
He did run into some trouble in the bottom of the fourth, when an error by right fielder Max Frost allowed the bases to be loaded with two outs in the bottom of the fourth. But Lanning, as he did all day, struck out a batter to end the threat.
Frost did have a two-run single in the top of the seventh to finally put the game out of reach for the Titans.
The Indians move on to the Elgin Larkin Sectional to face Algonquin Jacobs, who knocked off the top seed in their regional, Huntley, 6-3. The Indians will be among the favorites, as they have two top-flight pitchers in Scarpetta, one of the best in the state, as well as Lanning, who picked up his 11th win to tie a school record. The game will be at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 2.
From the June 2-8, 2010 issue