The Northrop baseball team's senior class from 2020 never got a chance to close their careers with a sectional championship because the season was canceled during the coronavirus pandemic.
On Monday, a group of them were on hand at the invitation of coach Matt Brumbaugh to watch the Bruins play for the program's first sectional crown since 2016. The current team did not disappoint, capturing the title with a 2-1 victory over DeKalb in the Class 4A Carroll Sectional to advance to the Kokomo Regional.
“The good thing is we get to enjoy it with some of our guys from the past,” Brumbaugh said. “I wanted to make sure the guys that didn't get to play last year got to enjoy this a little bit, so it was good for them to be around here, too.”
Northrop senior Greg Allen pitched a complete-game six-hitter. He also singled, walked, scored a run, stole a base and got hit by a pitch. Fellow senior Jon Ummel drove in both Bruins runs, providing just enough offense for Allen to pick up the victory.
Those performances helped Northrop (13-15) capture its 16th sectional championship.
“It means everything,” Allen said of the championship. “All the hard work we've been putting in since the fall, the dedication through the ups and downs, it just means a lot to finally say that we got the job done.”
Northrop trailed 1-0 in the third inning when Ummel drove in Allen with a sacrifice fly to left to even the score. The Bruins, who left the bases loaded in two of the first three innings, took the lead in the fifth when junior Luke Siren ripped a double to the gap in left-center, advanced to third on a wild pitch and came home on another Ummel sacrifice.
Allen did the rest, striking out five and coming up with outs in the game's biggest moments. With a man on in the fourth, he turned a blistering line drive into a double play when he snared it and threw to first before the runner could scramble back.
An inning later, two walks and a hit batter loaded the bases with two outs, bringing Brumbaugh out of the dugout to talk to his pitcher. Allen stayed in the game and got Nolan Nack to ground into a fielder's choice to end the threat.
“He's a bulldog,” Brumbaugh said of Allen. “I had a lot of confidence in him today. ... He just battled. It's not pretty, we're not a pretty ballclub, we do it ugly, but we found a way.”
Allen stranded two more in the sixth and then retired the side in order in the seventh, starting a dogpile on the mound.
The Barons (19-12), who had beaten the Bruins 14-5 in an early-season game at Northrop, scored when Nack bounced an infield single to the hole between short and third in the second inning, allowing Parker Smith to cross the plate.
The Barons are still looking for their first sectional crown since 2002.