J.J. Roberts, Caleb Stewart, Bryan Mullins, Zach Jewell, Kaleb Carl, A.J. Keeton and Jordan Sweeney are Carlisle’s other seniors. Flatter said he’s proud of the Indians’ accomplishments since he’s been in the program — they’ve advanced to one regional final and two district title games during that time.
The 2019 squad has a youthful flavor with multiple sophomores and freshmen playing key roles. Flatter injured the rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder during the squad’s season-opening trip to Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and hasn’t been able to play behind the plate since returning to Ohio.
“It’s been rough. I’ve still got to do whatever I can to help my team win,” said Flatter, who bats third as the designated hitter and will play football at Wittenberg University. “I’m not sure how it’s going to go the rest of the year. Hopefully I’ll be back behind the plate again at some point. I’d love to finish strong.
“We do have a lot of young talent. They’ll definitely be good once they develop a little more. I think they’ve done a great job so far this season as far as maturing. It’s tough to go out there when you’re young like that and play, but I’m pretty proud of the team so far.”
The youth movement has produced highs and lows. There were some mistakes Monday that had youth written all over them. Sophomore left-hander Sam Rawlins also threw 6.2 solid innings in a losing effort, and freshman center fielder Talon Borders had the hosts’ only hit, an infield single in the first inning.
Carlisle, 12-7 overall and 9-2 in the SWBL, brought a .255 team batting average into Monday’s contest.
“Not to take anything away from our seniors because they’ve done a great job and played for three district championships already, but this is good seasoning for these young kids,” Indians coach Chris Hawkins said. “It’s good for everybody that we’re still playing for a title.
“It would’ve been better to win the first one today and be playing with house money or however you want to say it, but it’s also good for these young kids and these seniors. With our program, we hope we’ve gotten to the point where it’s fun playing games that matter.”
Waynesville (12-5, 10-1) grabbed control of Monday’s affair in the last three innings, scoring three times in the fifth and four times in the seventh.
Stone, a senior southpaw, struck out 12, walked four and hit two batters.
“I knew our bats would come alive at some point,” Stone said. “Losing league last year, we came in with the mentality that this is our house. This was our goal. We wanted to achieve it. But we’ve got work to do for Wednesday.”
The Spartans didn’t exactly scorch the ball in the fifth inning. The frame included bloop singles from Jonas Boggs and Ryan Papanek, a dropped fly ball, a run-producing wild pitch and a couple Carlisle mental errors.
“We had a couple breaks go our way. We don’t anticipate that happening a whole lot, but we’ll take it,” Waynesville coach Ryan Hill said. “We tried to put some pressure on them on the basepaths when we could. All we can do is try to have the right approach and stay as emotionally consistent as we can. That’s our No. 1 goal.”
The Spartans had three of their six hits in the seventh. Two came against reliever Levi Woodson after he replaced Rawlins on the mound.
“I thought we played pretty decent up until that fifth inning,” Flatter said. “We just had a couple mishaps. Once they got up, our energy kind of went down, and it went downhill from there.”
Papanek, Drake Stiles and Tanner Fannin all had RBIs for Waynesville. Stone delivered a two-run single in the seventh and said the two-seam fastball was his most effective pitch on the hill.
Hill said Stone didn’t have great command of his secondary pitches.
“He still threw up seven zeros, so I can’t ask any more out of a kid,” the WHS coach added. “Twelve Ks and a shutout to clinch a share of the title on the road, I will take that 10 days out of the week.”
Said Stone, “I’ve been in situations like this before. Having a strong defense behind you really helps.”
The Spartans have nine seniors and expected to be a championship squad this year. They’ve won 10 of their last 11 games after a 2-4 start.
“These guys have been to three straight districts since I’ve been here and a couple before that,” said Hill, in his fourth season at the helm. “We’ve got aspirations of making a tournament run, and it starts with taking care of the league. Chris runs such a good program here. We’re going to have to work our tails off if we want to win it by ourselves Wednesday.”
WP — Brady Stone (5-2); LP — Sam Rawlins (5-1). Records: W 12-5, 10-1 SWBL Buckeye; C 12-7, 9-2 SWBL Buckeye