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 Haase No-Hits Vikings, Just Misses Perfect Game

April 16, 2008 - From the onset, Knightstown senior Joe Haase was in complete control of the game last week at Blue River, a 13-0 Panther win.

The Purdue University-bound pitcher and shortstop was a one-man wrecking ball that quickly sank the Viking ship. His masterful performance on the mound was nearly perfect, and Blue River had no answer for him at the plate, either.

Haase didn’t allow a hit and just one runner reached base. That didn’t happen until the last inning when he hit a batter, ending his bid for a perfect game.

It didn’t matter, though. Not only was Haase completely in charge on the mound, he also went 4-for-4 with two RBIs. He slapped three doubles and a single, stole third base twice and drove home what would prove to be the winning run in the first inning.

Haase made coach Donnie Martin’s job pretty easy on this day. If the Vikings had any doubt about the prowess of Knightstown’s all-state player before the game, those were erased by the third inning.

Knightstown started slowing, still likely suffering from the season-opening beating suffered at the hands of 9th-ranked Class 3A New Palestine.

Levi Blair opened the game with a single and Jared Kayajan drew a walk. Haase then blasted the first of his four hits, a double down the left field line, to score Blair with the only run he would actually need.

The Panthers squandered an opportunity to increase that early margin when Kayajan was nailed trying to score and Haase was stranded on base. Knightstown added another run in the second when Chad Oakes, who reached base four times and scored three runs, scored on a ground out by Travis Titus.

After two innings Knightstown led just 2-0, but Haase had struck out four of the six men he faced, allowing just two lazy ground balls to third baseman Zach Burchett and second baseman Brice Biehl.

Knightstown then blew the game wide open by striking for five runs in the third inning and adding six more in the fourth. After Kayajan flew out to open the third, five straight Panthers reached base and scored in the third inning.

Haase started things off with his second straight double and Jordan Bearhope drew a walk. They both advanced by stealing a base, and Burchett smacked a single that sent them home to make it 4-0.

After Oakes drew another walk, Biehl crushed a three-run homer over the right-centerfield fence, scoring Oakes and pinch-runner Danny Ortman to extend the Knightstown lead to 7-0.

Haase didn’t let up, fanning two more Vikings in the bottom of the third and removing any hopes they may have had of getting back into the game.

The Panthers then put the death grip on Blue River in the top of the fourth. Blair drew a walk and scored on a double by Kayajan to start things off. Haase then ripped his third double of the game, scoring Kayajan. Bearhope’s sacrifice sent Haase home, and Knightstown added three more runs when Burchett, Oakes and Isaac Imel crossed the plate. That surge upped the lead to 13-0 after just four innings.

Haase, who threw just 71 pitches in the game, had retired the first 12 men he faced. In the bottom of the fifth inning, the perfect game ended when he hit a batter on a full count. The senior right-handed then struck out the next three Vikings to secure the no-hitter.

Haase went 4-for-4 with two RBIs, while Biehl drove home three runners with his blast in the third inning. Titus and Burchett both drove home two runners, while Blair had two hits and scored two runs.

 

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