WHITING | Lake Station coach Tony Hicks has seen his team string together some big offensive innings throughout this season.
So, Wednesday’s six-run third inning wasn’t a surprise to Hicks, but it was exactly what the Eagles needed to put away Bowman Academy in a 13-2, five-inning win in the opening game of the Class 2A Whiting Sectional.
“We’ve hit the ball really well against those types of pitchers all year,” Hicks said. “We’ve put up some runs in big innings before.
"Chris Szoztek hit the ball pretty well today.”
Szoztek went 3-for-4 with three RBIs - a home run short of the cycle. Szoztek drove in the first run of the game with an RBI single and was an integral part of Lake Station’s three-run fifth inning, hitting a two-run triple to give the Eagles a 10-run lead.
Other than Bowman’s two-run first inning, Szoztek pitched well, including 1-2-3 third and fourth innings.
“He’s been a pretty solid hitter,” Hicks said. “He’s done a good job with the bat all season. He’s logged the most (pitching) innings for us all year.”
In the third inning, Lake Station (10-19) sent 11 batters to the plate, putting the game out of reach for the undermanned Bowman squad.
Besides the first inning, Bowman’s only other threat came in the fifth inning when Krystian Davenport led off the frame with a double.
However, relief pitcher Josh Dronen got out of the jam to end the game.
“We just didn’t hit the ball,” Bowman coach Bill Dutlar said. “He was throwing a lot of strikes. The guys you see is the guys I had all year. We had a nice core of kids, which was my infield, but my whole outfield was new.”
Lake Station advances to play the winner of today’s Whiting/River Forest game at 10 a.m. on Monday.