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Class 4A Chesterton Sectional championship: Hobart 3, Portage 2
Portage put the tying run 90 feet away in the seventh inning of Monday's championship, at which point Hobart coach Bob Glover, Jr. reminded his team of something important.
"I was hollering, 'They've still got to score,'" Glover said after the 3-2 win. "It was like they had all the momentum, but (pitcher) Brandon (Murray) is so hard to hit. It's a situation where all they need is contact, but I've watched him miss so many bats, strike out so many guys over the years, there's nobody else in the state I'd want on the mound."
Murray responded with two strikeouts, both on curve balls, to end the game. He had 10 for the game.
"We know those guys can hit," Glover said. "We knew it wouldn't be easy. They got some good swings on some fastballs. He knew this wasn't going to be a game where he could just muscle up and blow it by them. They're too good for that. He really needed to throw his curve ball for strikes."
Portage is playing in its fifth sectional final in a row Monday at Chesterton. The Indians broke through and won the title last season at LaPorte and Hobart coach Bob Glover Jr. compares his current Brickies to the 2013 team.
"They're a program that knows how to win this time of year," Glover said. "They were on the cusp, knocking on the door a lot of years and finally broke through last year, which is kind of where we are. We're looking to take that next step. Obviously, I feel pretty good about where we're at, but we're going to have come out and keep playing well. They're the team to beat until somebody beats them."
Portage is on a roll at the right time, having won 10 of its last 11 games.
"We're not beating ourselves and we're taking advantage of situations," coach Tim Pirowski said.
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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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