MADISON — All three area all-stars made quality contributions to help the North take the rubber game of the 45th annual Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Series at Madison High School’s Gary O’Neal Field Sunday afternoon.
Eastside middle infielder Chase Franz, New Haven catcher Angel DiFederico and Bishop Dwenger first baseman Charlie Howe helped the North beat the South 8-4 in the wooden bat game after the two teams split Saturday’s doubleheader. The South won the opener 7-3; the North took Saturday’s nightcap 16-3.
Saturday’s games started two hours later than originally scheduled after stormy, rainy weather went through southern Indiana Saturday morning. There was also delay in action because of an umpire injured as a result of a foul tip.
Sunday was warm and sunny during the game before rain moved in later in the afternoon. Series most valuable player Kyle Schmack from South Central (Union Mills) had a two-run single in the third inning and a two-run home run to left-center in the fifth inning to lead the North to victory. The Valparaiso-bound Schmack went 8-for-10 in the series with eight runs batted in.
Franz, who has committed to the University of Saint Francis, started the wooden bat game and batted eighth. He played second base in the first three innings and the final two innings.
“I had a lot of fun,” Franz said. “It was really cool to hang out with these great players. I learned to get along with a lot of different guys.”
“It was kind of a long time to socialize (on Saturday), and it wasn’t always about baseball.”
DiFederico started at catcher and batted ninth. The Purdue-Fort Wayne commit played behind the plate in the first three innings and the final three frames and showed off his athleticism and defensive abilities.
Howe played first base from the fourth through seventh innings. Howe struck out in the fifth inning, and drove in an insurance run in the seventh inning when he was hit by a pitch from New Palestine’s Jack Walker with the bases loaded and two outs. That gave the North a 6-4 lead.
Howe hustled to make a big play in the bottom of the fifth after a wild North pickoff throw from the pitcher. Howe chased the ball down in foul territory and threw a strike to third base to throw out Edgewood’s Ethan Vecrumba as he tried to advance from first to third. The North was hanging on to a 5-4 lead at the time.
Franz singled to center with two outs in the top of the second inning off of Hamilton Southeastern’s Michael Dillon. However, not long after, Franz was thrown out attempting to steal second base.
Franz re-entered the game in the eighth and hit a fielder’s choice grounder to third. A North runner was forced out at second base on the play. Franz then scored on a double to left-center by Warsaw’s Liam Patton to put the North ahead 8-4.
DiFederico and Franz each made a big defensive play in the opening inning.
After the South’s leadoff hitter reached base, DiFederico was quick out of his crouch on a South bunt to throw out the lead runner. Franz caught a line drive and turned it into an inning-ending double play as he caught the runner at first too far off the bag.
DiFederico threw down to first base to pick off South Dearborn’s Ethan Getz in the third inning. The Bulldog standout was hunting for more attempting to run against him later that inning, but Indianapolis Roncalli’s Brian Keeney made a nice slide to the front of second base away from the tag to steal the base.
The North leads the IHSBCA All-Star Series with 24 series victories. The South has won 19 series. There have been two ties resulting from rainouts.