With six core players returning from a 22-8 team, Mater Dei has soared to an 11-2 record and a No. 6 ranking in the latest Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association Class 2A poll. However, sectional foe and defending 2A state champion South Spencer is No. 1.
“I really think we’ve played well together as a team,” said Wildcats coach Steve Ricketts. “We’re not pounding people, but we’re winning games. We’ve had several one-run games and we’ve been able to pull them off. We’re making the most of our opportunities. They push each other to work hard and they want to win.”
Mater Dei is second in the Southern Indiana Athletic Conference with a 5-1 record. Memorial leads the league at 4-0. Castle is third at 4-1.
Will LaRue, a senior center fielder who signed with Xavier University, leads Mater Dei in hitting (.383) and stolen bases (20 in 22 attempts). Jake Fleming, a senior shortstop headed for the University of Southern Indiana, is batting .326 with eight runs batted in. Seth Kruse, a senior catcher, is hitting .282 with nine RBIs.
Ben Sellers, a junior first baseman-pitcher, has been a standout at the plate and on the mound. He is batting .316 with nine RBIs. The “goggle-wearing lefty” – as Ricketts describes him – is 3-1 with a 2.22 earned run average. Sellers has struck out 21, walked eight and allowed 14 hits in 22 innings.
Chase Partain, a soft-tossing senior lefty, threw all 10 innings in Mater Dei’s 2-1 victory over Princeton last Saturday. He allowed one unearned run while walking two and fanning 11. For the season, Partain is 3-0 with a 0.72 ERA.
“He is not going to overpower you,” Ricketts said. “He doesn’t throw particularly hard, but he throws strikes. He’s a crafty lefty.”
Blake Wildeman, a senior righty, is 2-0 with a 3.26 ERA.
The Wildcats were rained out Monday at Mount Vernon and the game will not be rescheduled. They will return to action at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Heritage Hills, then play at Harrison in SIAC action at 4 p.m. Friday, then host Class 4A No. 6-ranked New Albany at 10 a.m. Saturday at Bosse Field.
The postponed Mater Dei-Reitz game has been rescheduled for 4 p.m. May 7 at the Barker Avenue Complex because Bosse Field will be unavailable.