Entering last week’s Class 2, District 4 Tournament as the No. 2 seed, the Van-Far Indians baseball team knew they would have to play two near-perfect games if they were going to repeat as district champions.
Head Coach Dan Friedel’s Indians responded to the challenge by shutting out two opponents 24-0 to win the title for the second straight year.
In the championship game, Van-Far drew a New Haven team that entered the tournament with just one victory. After New Haven upset No. 1 seed Clopton in the semifinals, the Indians found themselves as the heavy favorite in the title game. Van-Far jumped out to a 2-0 first inning lead. Nathan Beatty’s sacrifice fly scored the first run before Cody James drew a bases-loaded walk to score the second run.
After Van-Far pitcher Josh Hodde struck out the side in the top of the second inning, the Indians ran away with the game in their second at-bat by scoring 12 runs.
Logan Wilson had an RBI triple, Caden Wilburn added an RBI single, while Hodde had an RBI double for a 5-0 edge.
Caden Wilburn added a two-RBI triple before Treyson Culwell put the game away for good with a two-run home run.
“Once again, I thought our guys did a nice job at the plate and running the bases,” Friedel said. “We are proud of winning a district title and excited for the opportunity to compete in the sectional.”
Caden Wilburn led the Indians with four RBIs and one run scored while Wilson tallied three runs scored and one RBI.
Both Treyson Culwell and Hodde had two RBIs and two runs scored; both Beatty and James had two RBIs; James had two RBIs and one run scored; Aidan Lowrance scored two runs; Colten Jensen had one RBI and one run scored; while Riley Culwell and Colin Wilburn each scored one run.
Hodde earned the victory on the mound after tossing four innings and allowing no earned runs on one hit with 11 strikeouts and two walks.
Wilson tossed one inning of shutout ball and struck out three batters as the two pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts.
In the semifinals, the Indians scored at least three runs in their final two at-bats to beat Louisiana, 10-0.
The Indians led the Bulldogs 2-0 in the first inning as Hodde’s sacrifice fly scored one run. Treyson Culwell added an RBI single.
In the fourth inning, Hodde added a two-RBI double for a 4-0 edge.
One inning later, Van-Far scored three more runs behind Jensen’s RBI single, Hodde’s sacrifice fly, and a Louisiana balk.
In the top of the sixth inning, Wilson added an RBI double for the 10th run as Van-Far scored three runs in the frame.
Hodde led the Indians’ 12-hit attack with four RBIs; Wilson had one RBI and three runs scored; Jensen added two RBIs and two runs scored; Colin Wilburn had one RBI and two runs scored; both Treyson Culwell and Beatty had two RBIs; while Riley Culwell, Caden Wilburn, and James each scored one run.
On the mound, Treyson Culwell tossed six innings of shutout ball and allowed just two hits while striking out 16 with two walks.
“Treyson Culwell pitched outstanding for six innings,” Friedel said. “We did a nice job at the plate finding pitches we could handle and were able to string some hits together and come away with a win.”
Just after press time, Van-Far hosted Valle Catholic in the Sectional round in Farber.