EVANSVILLE – In this age of analytics, sometimes the old-school saying “statistics are for losers” still readily applies.
Purdue-bound Martinsville starter Brandon Dodson had allowed just three earned runs in 53-2/3 innings entering the Artesians’ Class 4A regional baseball semifinal Saturday against Castle at Bosse Field.
Undaunted, the No. 8 Knights scored three earned runs in the first three innings and rolled to an 8-2 victory.
Once again, freshman and No. 9 hitter Caleb Niehaus came to the forefront. His bases-loaded double to left-center field boosted the Knights’ advantage to 6-1 in the third.
Castle will play the winner of Saturday’s second semifinal between No. 3 Columbus East (22-4) and Jeffersonville (18-6) at 6 p.m. for the title. The Knights are the defending regional champion.
To be fair, Dodson (8-1) did allow only those three earned runs in his four innings of work, as the Artesians committed four errors behind him.
Niehaus had an RBI grounder in the second as he finished with four runs batted in for the first time in his brief varsity career.
“It feels good,” he said. “I got a fastball upstairs. I was looking for a ball to hit and he threw it in the right spot.”
His two-run double snapped a 6-6 tie in the 10th as the Knights went on to defeat Jasper 10-7 in the sectional semifinals, also at Bosse Field, on May 25.
Like Dodson, Castle starter Blake Ciuffetelli entered the semifinal with a perfect record. Bound for the University of Southern Indiana, Ciuffetelli threw a complete game, scattering six hits in improving to 8-0.
“I just try to pay attention to myself, not what they do,” he said.
Ciuffetelli settled down after allowing three successive singles in the bottom of the first. He wriggled out of the jam, giving up one run.
“They scored one run,” he said. “I knew I had the ball up. But that’s where i settled in.”
This story will be updated.
Castle’s Blake Ciuffetelli was winning pitcher in 4A regional title game last year, hopes to lift Knights in regional semis on Saturday Gordon Engelhardt, Courier & Press