June 16, 2017
Ritter Cruises to First Baseball State Championship
Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter plated three runs in both the third and fourth innings and went on to capture its first baseball state championship in a 10-4 decision over Wapahani at Victory Field in Indianapolis.
Coached by 11th-year leader Dave Scott, Ritter (28-3) earned the school's sixth state championship and second this this school year following their 2A football crown last fall down the street at Lucas Oil Stadium. Each of their previous titles had come in football.
Kyle Price's RBI single in the third inning scored Alex Vela who had singled with two outs and then stole second. Jake Kluemper then followed with an RBI triple to right field scoring Price. Kluemper scored the third run when Joey Gruber, pinch running for Blake Malatestinic, stole second after Wapahani made a play on him.
In the Ritter fourth, Brian Eisele pinch ran for Dillon Olejnik who tripled down the right field line and scored on Vela's single through the right side. Vela took second on a wild pitch and then third on a passed ball. Price walked to put runners on the corners and then stole second himself. Ben Egenolf singled up the middle scoring both to take a 6-0 advantage.
The Raiders of 34th year Wapahani coach Brian Dudley got back into it with three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Isaiah Brosher reached on a fielding error to lead off and moved over on Braxton Davis' single. Both then moved up another base on a wild pitch. Tysen Lipscomb was then intentionally walked to load the bases and Stephen Vickery singled to scoring Brosher. Garett Stanley then landed a 2 RBI single to left field scoring Davis and Lipscomb.
Third-ranked Ritter tacked four more in the top of the sixth inning on two hits and an error while Wapahani picked up one more in its last at bat when Stanley scored on Chandler Wise's grounder to second base.
Malatestinic pitched all seven innings to finish his senior year 12-1. Egenolf finished the game 2-for-3 with a run and 3 RBI for Ritter and Stanley went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI and a run scored for Wapahani.
Wapahani (19-12) was playing in the championship game for the second time in four seasons but settled for its second runner-up finish (2004 2A).
Cardinal Ritter’s Blake Malatestinic named Mental Attitude recipient
Following the game, members of the IHSAA Executive Committee announced Blake Malatestinic of Cardinal Ritter High School as the winner of this year’s L.V. Phillips Mental Attitude Award in Class 2A Baseball.
In his time at Cardinal Ritter, Blake’s leadership to his school and teammates does not go unnoticed. Recently, at the school’s Baccalaureate Ceremony, the administration, faculty, and staff voted Blake the recipient of the “Outstanding Class Leader Award.” Ritter president, Jo Hoy, speaks highly of Blake, saying how he has earned this esteemed award through the hard work he demonstrates every day in all areas of his life.
During his time at Ritter, Blake was involved in the National Honor Society, Promise to Keep, Service Learning, Campus Ministry, and Student Council. In the community, he has served to the homeless community, especially at Wheeler Missionary, where he and other students passed out food packages to the homeless in Indianapolis. On top of all that, Blake’s leadership has impacted those younger than him as well. He gives back to his grade school as a cadet teacher and he volunteers his time as a tutor for students at Cardinal Ritter after school.
On the baseball diamond, Blake leaves his high school career with numerous accomplishments and awards. He was named Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association District L Player of the Year (2017), Indianapolis Coaches Player of the Year (2017), Indianapolis All-City 1st Team (2016 and 2017), Indiana Crossroads All-Conference (2015, 2016, and 2017), and Indianapolis All-City 2nd Team (2015).
Blake is the son David and Noelle Malatestinic of Indianapolis. He will attend Eastern Illinois University, where he plans on majoring in biological sciences.
The award is annually presented to an outstanding senior participant in each state championship game who has best demonstrated excellence in mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability in baseball. The award is named in honor of the late L.V. Phillips, who served as the second commissioner of the IHSAA from 1945-62. Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, the IHSAA's corporate partner, presented a $1,000 scholarship to general scholarship fund at Cardinal Ritter in the name of Blake Malatestinic.