2009-10 Class 3A State Finals Recap

June 19, 2010

The Class 3A state championship game between Andrean and Jasper was a pitcher’s duel in more ways than one.

Andrean starter Ken Mahala, who threw a complete game on the mound and led the offense with a 3-run double, led his Fighting 59ers to a 6-1 victory over Spencer Sapp and the Jasper Wildcats at Victory Field in Indianapolis.

Mahala was stellar from the beginning, as he limited Jasper’s scoring opportunities by scattering 5 hits and 1 walk over his 7 innings. The only blemish on the performance was a leadoff home run in the sixth inning by Sapp, a towering shot by the Wildcats’ starting pitcher that landed high on the hill beyond the right field fence.

Sapp held Andrean scoreless over the first two frames, but got into trouble in the third when he gave up hits to five straight hitters, capped by Mahala’s one-out, bases-clearing double to left.  All 9 hits and 6 runs given up by Sapp came in the third and fourth innings.

Vince Tornincasa and Zach Goldasich each had two hits for Dave Pishkur’s Fighting 59ers, who became the third team at the 2010 state finals to defend their 2009 championship. Mahala, Tyler Ochi, and Matt Doolin were the three Andrean starters who also started in the 2009 title game.

Aside from Sapp’s homerun, the highlights for Jasper came from centerfielder Scott Wendholt, who made four outstanding, over-the-shoulder catches in the late innings; Wendholt’s defense gave Terry Gobert’s team hope in the final inning, but Mahala induced a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.

The Wildcats (30-6) were making their 13th appearance at the state finals and had never lost in five previous championship games, while Andrean (29-6) has now won the IHSAA’s top billing in Class 3A three times.

Following the game, Jasper High School’s Austin Ahrens was named the winner of the L.V. Phillips Mental Attitude Award for Class 3A Baseball by the IHSAA Executive Committee.

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.

Ahrens was a varsity starter for the Wildcats for 3½ years, was an All-Big Eight Conference selection this season and led the team in batting average, stolen bases, home runs and runs scored this year. In addition to baseball, he lettered twice in basketball and four times in football in which he was named Academic All-State last fall and an All-State pick the last two seasons.

He graduated with a 4.0 GPA, was a two-year member of the National Honor Society and was involved with the Key Club, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Student Council at his school.

He will attend Indiana University in the fall with plans to major in finance with a minor in chemistry.

He is the son of Tony and Christy Ahrens of Jasper, Ind.

Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, the proud corporate partner of all IHSAA state tournaments, presented a $1,000 scholarship to Jasper High School in the name of Ahrens.