KOKOMO – As nine seniors hugged one another in the shadows beyond the left field foul line, Bellmont catcher Ben Baker tried to fight back tears but was losing the struggle.
He wasn’t alone.
It was the disbelief and finalitycaused the Braves to turn to each other in solace. Heading into the top of the seventh inning with a one-run lead they had just acquired on Brian Hakes’ two-run home run, they were three outs away from a trip to the Class 3A state finals.
“I don’t know what to say about it,” Baker said as he tried to find his composure. “I’d like to say that we failed to get the job done, but (Western) fought the whole time, too; can’t take anything away from them.”
Because Western erupted for six run in the top of the seventh, Bellmont’s hopeful one-run lead turned into an 11-6 nightmare finish that sent the Panthers (24-9) to the state finals in Indianapolis, and sent Bellmont (24-9) to the sideline shadows.
For more on this game, read Sunday's Journal Gazette or return to www.journalgazette.net after 3 a.m.