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Griffith athletic director Bill Crowley notified media members by email this morning that Thursday's sectional game will not be played.
"Gary Roosevelt is not sending a team to the Sectional 17 Baseball Tournament," Crowley said. "The Thursday game between Gary Roosevelt and Griffith is a forfeit. Griffith will advance to play in the semi-finals."
Griffith will play the winner of the Hammond vs. Gavit game in one semifinal on Saturday.
Roosevelt registered for the sectional, unlike in the girls sectional when Roosevelt did not properly register and was not permitted to participate.
Last season, two of the Gary teams did not arrive for their sectional baseball games. Lew Wallace beat Roosevelt in a quarterfinal game at Clark, then Wallace did not appear for the semifinal game, automatically advancing Clark to the finals. In Class 4A, West Side did not arrive for its quarterfinal game against Morton, something that new coach Malcolm Jordan said would not happen again this year.
Portage's Kevin Jones and Ty Kniola are the best 1-2 pitching combination in the Duneland Athletic Conference that's not named Plesac. Jones, a transfer from Chesterton who somehow couldn't find innings with the Trojans last year, has a plus fastball and a sharp-breaking curve ball that should become livelier as the cold weather abates. The combination will hold the Indians steady through the upcoming glut of games prompted by last week's rash of postponements.
Speaking of which, Valparaiso hasn't played a DAC game as of this writing, and its depleted pitching staff has yet to be seriously tested. That will change this week with games every day and no Devin Bafia or Andrew Sykes to lean on. Bafia, the Vikings ace, is suspended for half the season and Sykes, who returned with the second-most innings on the staff, reportedly quit after facing the same penalty.
Perennial power Boone Grove has leveled off in the last few seasons, a but Rollie Thill's senior-dominated Wolves team is 8-1 after topping a decent Michigan City squad Saturday. It will be a factor in the PCC race as it begins to unfold this week.
Promise for Gary baseball
West Side coach Malcom Jones contacted the Times to provide an update on the status of youth baseball in Gary. Jones said that he and Byron Jones changed the Gary Youth Baseball program to Steel City and steered its affiliation toward Babe Ruth. Jones added that Ed French took over GYB, re-naming it Gary Metro, and has experienced a dramatic turnaround in the last three years. According to Jones, it has experienced exponential growth, its Juniors rivaling Portage and Valparaiso, and its younger levels ranking third in teams, behind only the aforementioned 'big two' of Indiana District One.
New Satellites coach thinking big
South Central has never been afraid to play the big schools, having scheduled the likes of Portage, Valparaiso and Michigan City for many years, and new Satellites coach Ryan Kruszka embraces that challenge.
"Those are good games for us," Kruszka said. "We want to play those kind of teams."
Kruszka, who played at Butler, was previously the pitching coach at perennial powerhouse Brownsburg, and he's working on a four-team round-robin tournament with the Bulldogs and Warren Central.
Win a Times travel mug by picking the correct score in the Class 4A and Class 2A regional semifinals! Tweet your guess for the final score and the winner of the Merrillville vs. Lake Central girls basketball game in Class 4A and the Whiting vs. Boone Grove game in Class 2A to @NWI_Hillary with the hashtag #nwiHSsports before 9 a.m. Saturday morning. The tweeter with a score closest to the actual final will win the prize. In case of a tie, the tweet sent first will be selected the winner. One winner will come from each class.
Times Media Co. employees and their families are not eligible. Only entries with the #nwiHSsports hastag sent to @NWI_Hillary are eligible for the contest. Per Twitter rules, anyone found using multiple accounts to enter will be disqualified. One entry per Class per account, so choose wisely. Winners will be notified through Twitter and must pick their prize at their closest Times office. Prizes not picked up within 30 days of notification will be forfeited.
Purdue head football coach Darrell Hazell announced the signing of 23 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to play for the Boilermakers.
The class features three early enrollees in quarterback Danny Etling, defensive end John Strauser and L.C. product David Yancey.
The group hails from seven different states, with five each from Georgia, Florida and Ohio, three each from Illinois and Indiana and one each from Kentucky and Texas.
PCC game rescheduled: The Hanover Central at Boone Grove girls basketball game, originally scheduled for Thursday, was postponed to Tuesday due to the inclement weather.
The Wolves beat the Wildcats en route to the Porter County Conference tournament championship, taking the Kup from Hanover Central.
The game ends Boone Grove's conference season, while Hanover Central has three games remaining. The Wolves are 4-2 in PCC play, while the Wildcats are 3-1.
Come back for more postponements as they are announced.
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Al Hamnik has been a reporter and columnist in Northwest Indiana for 42 years and is a member of the Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame, as well as a winner of the Indiana sportswriter of the year award, an IHSAA media award winner, a Corky Lamm Award winner and a three-time HSPA winner.
Steve Hanlon was the Prep Beat writer for The Times from 1995 through 2000 before he went to work at the Indianapolis Star. Upon returning to The Times in 2004, he covered Valparaiso University for one season before he took back the Prep Beat beat in 2005.
Jim Hunsley covers a menagerie of sports as a reporter in the Times.
Jim Peters graduated from Andrean (Class of 1981) and Purdue (1985), where he met and worked with current Porter County Assistant Sports Editor Greg Smith. He spent the first 10 or so years of his professional career at a chain of Northwest Indiana weeklies that covered Merrillville, Andrean, Hobart, Portage, Lake Station and River Forest before catching on at the Times in the summer of 1998. Jim covers high school sports in Porter County.
Hillary Smith has covered prep, pro and college sports -- and even a Dixie Baseball World Series -- for newspapers north and south of the Mason-Dixon Line since 1995.
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