By Mark Ambrogi
Tyler Schweitzer was ready for his pressure-packed prime time moment.
“On the biggest stage of his life, he was probably the sharpest I’ve ever seen him and we’ve seen him pretty sharp,” Hamilton Southeastern High School first-year coach Jeremy Sassanella said.
Schweitzer got the victory in three strong innings of relief as the Royals edged No. 3 Columbus East 3-2 in the June 17 IHSAA Class 4A state baseball championship game Victory Field in Indianapolis. It was the first state baseball championship appearance for HSE.
Following a 14-17 mark in 2018, the Royals turned it around with a 23-8 record this season.
“I can’t fathom it right now,” Schweitzer said. “I knew we had a great team coming into this year and it shows right now. Some of us seniors have been playing since we were 5 years old together.”
Royals starting pitcher Michael Dillon, a Xavier commit, went four innings, giving up four hits, five walks and two earned runs. He left with two runners on and no outs in the fifth. In relief, Schweitzer, who will play at Ball State next season, allowed an infield single that scored the tying run.
Other than that, he was perfect. The left-hander struck out five, including striking out the top of the order in the seventh.
“There’s no better feeling than that coming in relief after a great job by my starter,” Schweitzer said. “I knew I was throwing well in the bullpen, so I knew I could get outs.”
In the bottom of the seventh, Anthony Eggers had an infield single with one out and scored the winning run on a throwing error. Brayton Harrison reached on an error. Then, Greyson Droste grounded to second, the shortstop threw it away on the double-play attempt and Eggers scored the winning run.
“When I scored, it seemed like everything was silent,” Eggers said. “I had no idea if we won, but three guys came up and tackled me hard. It was a great feeling to do it my last game ever.”
Senior catcher Jack DeWolf drove in the Royals’ first two runs with a pair of RBI singles.
HSE players insisted assistant coach Ken Seitz, 72, was the first to touch the state trophy. Seitz won 514 games as the Royals head coach before retiring in 2001. He later returned as assistant coach in 2010 for a staff that includes son Kory as another assistant. HSE’s field is named for the elder Seitz.