Keller walk-off ends Bremen run
MONROE — Kara Keller hit a walk-off home run batting in the eighth spot in the Adams Central lineup, and the host Jets handed visiting Bremen a heartbreaking 5-2 loss in regional play in Monroe Tuesday night.
The Lady Lions led 2-1 going into the bottom of the seventh, but two errors put runners on first and third, Jets pitcher Sydnee Peterson scored the tying run on Liz Luginbill’s bloop single to the right side of the infield, and Keller’s three-run shot straight out to center gave Adams Central the repeat regional championship.
It was a tough note to close on for Bremen, which clinched its first sectional title since 2008 with three wins at Westview last week. Head coach Mike Huppert downplayed the role of either nerves or the more than two hour bus ride over to Adams Central Tuesday.
“We hadn’t been to this level in, what, five years, so none of these girls have been a part of a regional,” he said. “I’m not calling it nerves, I told the girls ‘Hey, we’ve just got to go out and do our thing.’ We did our thing for six innings and they beat us in one inning. Nothing to be ashamed of.”
Bremen finished with just four hits and 12 strikeouts facing Peterson. Three of those four hits came in the fifth as the Lions took a 2-1 lead after the Jets ended a 0-0 stalemate with freshman pitcher Chelsea Huppert and the Bremen defense in the bottom of the fourth.
Taylor Lashbrook led off the fifth with a double, Mikayla Gardner bunted over courtesy runner Breann Wilson, and Wilson scored when Gardner stole second and the attempted pick-off throw from home sailed errant. Shelby Zellmer doubled in Gardner, and the Lions led 2-1 until Keller’s home team heroics in the seventh.
Bremen closes out a stellar season at 23-4, a campaign in which the Lions were ranked as high as fifth in the Class 2A polls, were Northern State Conference co-champions and ended a five-year sectional championship drought. The team bids goodbye to only four seniors in Gardner, Lashbrook, Megan Stouder and Brooke Baker.
“We are going to miss those four seniors for sure. We love them to death. They helped us get to the next level as far as determination, winning and leadership and that sort of thing,” said Huppert. “We had a real good successful JV season so we’ve got some girls that we believe should be strong. But like I said in my speech after the game here we’re not going to be given anything next year. There are no guarantees in life, and there are no guarantees we’re going to win any games next year. There are going to be a lot of teams that are shooting for us so if we’re going to get back on track next season everybody’s got to come back focused, and we’ve got to want it more than every team we play.”
• ADAMS CENTRAL 5, BREMEN 2
At Adams Central Regional
Bremen: 000 020 0 — 2 4 2
Adams Central: 000 100 4 — 5 4 1
Sydnee Peterson (W, 13-6); Chelsea Huppert (L, 16-4).
2B: Liz Luginbill (AC), Taylor Lashbrook (B), Shelby Zellmer (B)
HR: Kara Keller (AC)
Records: Adams Central 20-6, Bremen 23-4 (final).