CHESTERTON | Connor Podkul simply doesn't mess around when he's on the bump.
The LaPorte senior ace and Purdue recruit went the distance, essentially overpowering Chesterton to the tune of 14 punchouts, one walk, and three hits to lead the Times No. 5 Slicers to a 7-0 win in Duneland Athletic Conference action.
At one point, he struck out eight straight Trojans (11-7, 6-6 DAC) and in that span, he threw 21 of 22 strikes.
"Connor had life on his fastball and really found a groove in the third inning," LaPorte coach Scott Upp said. "He was awesome with getting ahead of hitters and that was just pretty."
On the offensive side, LaPorte (17-6, 9-3) struck first in the third after center fielder Jacob Craft walked, advanced to third on an errant pickoff throw, and was driven in by catcher Kyle Upp, who singled to right.
"Anytime Connor pitches and we get one, we're pretty confident," Craft said.
Nick Latham added the second run in the Slicer half of the fourth after he powered a homer over the left field fence.
After adding one in the fifth, the Slicers netted four in the top of the seventh with Craft scoring another in that inning from a David Eldridge RBI-single.
Craft reached base all four times, getting two singles and a walk, and he was hit by a pitch and scored three runs in all.
"Jacob struggled a little, but he was still putting the ball in play," Upp said. "But we have the utmost confidence in Jacob and tonight was a good boost for him."
After suffering his first and only loss to Crown Point on May 6, Podkul was operating on just three days rest. But on Thursday, he was throwing on full rest, which was the biggest difference, according to Podkul.
"When you're feeling sore, there's not as much oomph on the ball," he said. "But I felt good and credit goes to (catcher) Kyle (Upp) for working in my change."
Chesterton's one and only threat of the contest came in the seventh when Jordan Peterson walked and Alex Olson singled, but Podkul fittingly struck out the last two batters to end the game.
"Podkul was just special," Chesterton coach Jack Campbell said. "He was throwing in the high 80s and his curveball for a strike, and that's hard to combat."