HILLARY SMITH: Remembering the prep baseball season that was

2013-06-09T20:00:00Z 2013-06-09T20:53:39Z HILLARY SMITH: Remembering the prep baseball season that wasHillary Smith Times Columnist nwitimes.com
June 09, 2013 8:00 pm  • 

The region's high school baseball season ended a week ago today, well ahead of schedule.

Northwest Indiana has never not had a team in the semistate round of the IHSAA playoffs.

The season ended as it started, punctuated by weather catastrophes.

Here's what we'll remember the most:

The rain: Rain began the season, snow helped welcome April, rain continued to wreck havoc on scheduling and teams in the region canceled more and more games on an already packed schedule.

Many coaches called this the worst season in memory, thanks in large part to the number of games lost. 

The weather interrupted the postseason, too, as the last sectional in the area ended two days later than originally scheduled and the last regional ended two days after its slated final. The June 3 Class 2A Whiting championship wasn't the last game in the state played, as the remainder of the Class 2A schedule concluded June 4.

Time to start suspended games, DAC: The Duneland Athletic Conference is the only in the area that requires a restart on conference games that aren't concluded. Essentially, this means that if a game is through 6 2/3 innings when the skies open and a deluge begins, the score is erased and the game must be restarted at the next nonconference date by the two teams.

It's not that far back to remember 2008 when Crown Point and Lake Central played the same game three times because it was called for darkness twice at a tie.

On the same day this season that Chesterton had a 10-run lead over LaPorte in the second inning before the rain halted it, Munster was playing Morton. Chesterton had to restart the game from the first inning; Munster and Morton restarted the game with players on base.

Players of tomorrow: The player of the year and all-area team will be released by The Times later this week.

This season showed that the well isn't dry for excitement next season. For example, Hobart brings back the talents of both Tyrus Joseforsky and Brandon Murray, who fought to the end of the season for the school record in doubles.

Bishop Noll's Larry Crisler might be good on the basketball court, but he's even better on the diamond. West Side's Paco Jordan led the region with a .657 batting average and is part of the Cougars' baseball resurgence.

Griffith catcher Kyle Buikema is one of the best backstops in the area and will return for a fourth year.

Portage's Kevin Jones, who took his team to a regional semifinal, will come back for another year on the mound.

The end: It wasn't as if the region didn't fight to the bitter end for a regional champ. Griffith played extra innings before losing to defending Class 3A state champion Western. Lake Central in Class 4A and Bishop Noll in Class 2A scored in the seventh innings of their games in rally tries.

The blip of an early postseason end will be a one-year anomaly, to be sure. This season that was will only be remembered in the record books.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach her at hillary.smith@nwi.com.

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