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 'Smokin' Joe' Haase Slams Four Home Runs, Strikes Out 17 Raiders in Doubleheader Sweep

April 23, 2008 - Joe Haase was smoking-hot Saturday. Shenandoah’s pitching staff was scorched in the process.

The Knightstown senior further positioned himself into consideration for the state’s “Mr. Baseball” award by slamming four home runs – three in the second game – and leading the Panthers to a double-header sweep of Shenandoah. Haase pitched the first contest, striking out 17 batters in a complete game victory. That gave Haase 25 strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings pitched for the week.

Knightstown won the first game 4-3 when Haase and Chad Oakes both pounded two-run homers. The Panthers out-slugged the Raiders 16-9 in the second game when Haase belted three home runs and drove in eight runners. On the day, Haase went 6-for-8, had 10 RBIs and picked up his third win on the mound this season.

In the second game of the twinbill Shenandoah didn’t get Haase out once. He doubled but was stranded in the first inning, and reached on an error in the second frame. Although that goes into the scorebook as a failed at-bat, Haase nonetheless drove in a runner on the play and eventually scored the first of his four runs in the game.

In the third frame Haase drilled an 0-1 pitch over the left field fence that put the Panthers ahead 11-4. He came right back in the fourth inning and deposited a massive shot over the centerfield fence for a two-run homer.

In the sixth inning Haase struck for the third time, blasting another two-run shot over the left field fence, giving him three home runs in one game. The three home runs came on three successive pitches during those at-bats. He also blasted a two-run homer in the first game of the twinbill.

Knightstown used a seven-run second inning to take an 8-0 lead against the Raiders. Shenandoah did little to stay in the game at that point, committing four errors in the inning. Chad Oakes singled and Brice Biehl reached on an error after dropping a perfect bunt. Travis Titus then sent them both home with a deep single and the assault was underway.

Levi Blair drew a walk and Jared Kayajan reached on another Raider error, scoring two more runners. Haase then hit a bullet that was misplayed by the shortstop, and Jordan Bearhope sent him home with a deep double.

Down 8-0, Shenandoah scored four runs in the second inning and appeared to be making a game out of it. But the Panthers came right back in the third inning and struck again.

Titus led the inning off with a single and Kayajan drew a walk.

Haase then walloped the 0-1 pitch to left field for a three-run shot and an 11-4 lead. Knightstown got another run when Bearhope singled and later scored, and added two more in the fourth when Haase went downtown for the second time in the game.

Trailing 14-4, the Raiders mounted another comeback. They scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning that cut the lead to 14-8. Knightstown responded when Kayajan reached on an error in the sixth inning and scored when Haase rocked his third homer of the day over the left field fence.

Haase totaled 4-for-5 with four runs scored and eight RBI. Titus, Oakes and Bearhope all had two hits, while Kayajan scored four runs and Blair crossed the plate twice.


Haase threw a masterful game against the Raiders, allowing just two hits. But as much trouble as the Raiders had with a Haase breaking ball they couldn’t hit, the action on that pitch directly led to Shenandoah’s runs in the game. Several wild pitches and passed balls enabled the Raiders to score two of their three runs.

Shenandoah plated one run in the third inning when Eric Krathwohl singled and went to second base on a sacrifice bunt. Haase then struck out Luke Hamm and the ball got away from the catcher. Hamm went to first on the error and Krathwohl ended up at third base. A suicide squeeze bunt then scored Krathwohl, and Hamm scored on a Panther error. Shenandoah had taken a 2-0 lead and benefited by three Knightstown errors in the inning. Haase wasn’t particularly happy and struck out six of the next seven batters he faced.

The Raider lead didn’t last long, however. Knightstown plated four runs in the bottom of the third with some clutch hitting. Levi Blair led off with a single but was thrown out trying to steal second base. Kayajan then drew a walk and Haase came to the plate.

He crushed the first pitch thrown his way deep over the left field fence, tying the game up at 2-2.

Turnabout is fair play, and Zack Burchett went down swinging on a wild pitch that the Raider catcher couldn’t handle. With Burchett at first base, Chad Oakes belted a two-run homer over the right-centerfield fence that increased the lead to 4-2.

Knightstown stranded five runners the rest of the game and could never get much going offensively. But Haase made the four runs stand up. Shenandoah got one more run in the sixth inning when Danny Johns tagged Haase for a double to deep right-center and scored on a sacrifice ground out by Cory Criswell.

Haase worked seven innings, didn’t walk a batter and hit one. He allowed just two hits in the game and improved his record to 3-1 on the season.

The Panthers played Rushville Tuesday night and travel to Greenfield-Central Thursday. The team visits Lapel for a double-header Saturday.


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