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Thoughts from the Class 1A state baseball championship

2014-06-12T22:00:00Z Thoughts from the Class 1A state baseball championshipMike Nieto mike.nieto@nwi.com, (219) 933-3232 nwitimes.com
June 12, 2014 10:00 pm  • 

Even the Illinois Lutheran baseball team didn't think it would win the state title via the 10-run rule.

Coach Mark Kjenstad said he was not surprised how well his team hit.

"We had batting practice like we do before every game," Kjenstad said. "We hit on the grass outside the hotel. used Wiffle balls and I know that doesn't mean you are going to hit, but our guys were ready to play."

Indeed. It was a fine finish to a great season and Kjenstad proved that nice guys do finish first.

The Chargers set a goal at the beginning of the season, you know, when we didn't know if it would ever stop snowing and the fields would never thaw out, and they made sure they fulfilled it. They didn't boast about it, but kept their focus on the end. Though their only two losses were to rival Beecher, the Chargers went forward and let nothing and no one stand in their way.

This was a fun team to cover. There is something abut the "small school" atmosphere which makes the tournament special. Illinois Lutheran is in Crete, but is a school of 110 students and you can sense that family atmosphere.

They made the season fun by simply hitting the cover off the ball and great pitching and defense. Grant Farmer, Sam Geraci and Jared Buzan didn't give opposing hitters much to hit. Put an airtight defense behind them and that is a pretty good recipe for a winner.

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Al Hamnik

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.

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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.

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