Trib HSSN Baseball Player of the Week for April 17, 2022

Sunday, April 17, 2022 | 8:13 PM

There were a lot of exciting WPIAL baseball games last week, but when it comes to wild, down-to-the-wire diamond action, it would hard to beat the home-and-home series between Indiana and Highlands.

The Section 1-4A battles produced a big extra-inning comeback road win for Indiana on Monday, then saw the roles reversed Wednesday as Highlands’ big seventh inning comeback fell a run short.

The result was the Little Indians sweeping the Golden Rams, 10-6 and 6-5.

“Those were two tough games that could have gone either way,” Indiana coach Bill Thompson said. “We were fortunate and grateful to come out on top. We know Highlands is a good team, and they were not going to go down easily. Hats off to them.”

A lot of Indiana hats were doffed for the play of junior Gavin Homer. The shortstop/pitcher did everything but live up to his surname at the plate and on the mound.

On Monday, Homer was 4 for 5 with a double, a run, a stolen base and five RBIs as the Little Indians, trailing 5-1 in the sixth inning, scored four run to tie the score, then scored four more in the eighth inning for the victory.

“Gavin is very calm and never seems to get too high or too low,” Thompson said. “I think that is a big key to his success. He is very gifted athletically and is one of the guys we will be counting throughout the season.”

On Wednesday, Homer was 1 for 2 on offense and was nearly lights out on the mound.

Homer started and pitched 6 scoreless innings, allowing only two hits and two walks with five strikeouts. He exited the game with the Little Indians leading 6-0.

“Pitch count was a factor in removing him from the Highlands game,” Thompson said. “He was at 95 pitches, which was about 15 more than what we intended to throw him. The biggest take away was that he threw strikes and stayed ahead in the count. His breaking ball wasn’t great, but it was good enough to keep Highlands off balance.”

The Golden Rams found their balance in the seventh inning, scoring five runs, but could not plate the equalizer as the Little Indians held on at home for a dramatic 6-5 win.

“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned at the end of (Wednesday’s) game,” Thompson said. “Give credit to our guys for sticking with it and making the plays to finish the game.”

For the season, Homer is hitting .429 with a .538 on-base percentage, three doubles, eight runs and nine RBIs. He has yet to homer.

The two wins last week improved Indiana to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in Section 1.

Now the Little Indians square off with first-place North Catholic (4-0, 4-3) on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“We are excited to play North Catholic,” Thompson said. “We know they are a very good team, and we will have to play very well to beat them.”

2022 Trib HSSN Baseball Players of the Week

Week 1: Jake Kendro, Norwin


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