BRAVE(LY) UNEXPECTED

Written by Joey Perkins
6/9/20

I have always loved baseball. I think it’s the team aspect of the game that appeals to me most. You workout all fall and winter to prepare for a condensed two or three month season, depending on how the team does in the state tournament. I went to Brebeuf Jesuit, which was not known for having a great baseball program. We weren’t terrible, we were mostly average. Most years we won more than we lost, but we never went very far in the state tournament.


As we prepared for my junior season in the spring of 2012 there was no reason to believe we were going to have a special year. We had Connor Hale back as our ace pitcher and when he pitched we always felt like we had a good chance of winning. Other than Connor, we didn’t have a bunch of division 1 baseball players. However, what we did have was a togetherness, good chemistry, and we had fun playing for each other. As we entered the state tournament we had a tough assignment playing at Roncalli, they were the host and favorites. We received a great draw, if we win our first game than we are in the championship game since we received a bye. We got a huge break when Chatard played Roncalli early on Saturday morning and gave them a great game. Roncalli was better than Chatard that year, but it took Roncalli 10 innings to finally win that first game. We played a poor team in the second game and won handily. That put us in the championship game that evening against Roncalli. They were exhausted from their 10 inning game. I hit a home run early in the game off of the now infamous impersonator, Joey Mulinaro, to give us an early lead. But the big blow came an inning later when my teammate Nic Meyers hit a grand slam that was gone the minute the ball hit his bat. We got a big lead and Connor pitched a gem and we were off to the regional at Mt. Vernon.  

 
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  We played really well in the regional, I could sense that we were peaking at just the right time. We respected our opponents, but were confident if we just played our game we were going to win. We beat Edgewood in the regional final, we are now heading to the semi-state to face our old nemesis Greensburg. We are now one of 4 teams left in the state in class 3A! In my sophomore season Greensburg ended our season and they were a top 10 program all year. They had everybody back, including a good starting pitcher and a shortstop going to IU. It was a crazy game, just when you expect a low scoring pitcher’s duel, it became a high scoring game with numerous lead changes. Somehow we prevailed. A season that started with little promise is now going to conclude with us playing at Victory Field for the state championship. A first for a Brebeuf baseball team.

 
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I distinctly remember the week of the game thinking there was no way we were going to lose. We were hot, we were getting all of the good bounces, everything was going our way. As the bus pulled up to Victory Field, I recall being excited and anxious. Our fans were having a tailgate as we got off the bus and there was an energy present that was atypical of most baseball games I played in. Here, I am all pumped up to play at Victory Field in a state championship game and in the top of the 1st inning it all fell apart. Western scored five runs in the first before we ever had a chance to hit. Although the game was not over, all of the oxygen was out of our crowd and our dugout. It was a 35 minute bus ride from school to the stadium and in less than 10 minutes we were behind 5-0. I batted second in the bottom of the 1st inning. The pitcher threw me a fastball and I turned on it and hit a shot towards the left field foul pole. When I hit it I thought it would probably go foul. And it did.  It soared foul over Captain Morgan’s Cove. All the good luck we had early in the tournament evaporated, we went on to lose the game. The main thing I was disappointed in is that we did not play a good game. I am still not sure why. Was the moment too big for us? Were we playing nervous and tight? Guess what, we will never know why, I simply have to live with it. But honestly that’s not difficult because it was an unbelievable ride and will provide me with memories that I will have forever, most of them good from that improbable season.

 
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