MICHIGAN CITY | Michigan City was three outs away from forcing a two-way tie atop the Duneland Athletic Conference baseball standings.
In the seventh inning is when Crown Point turned back into Crown Point.
The Bulldogs, who had put a leadoff hitter on base in four of the first six innings but scored him only once, rallied with five runs in the seventh for a 6-4 win over the Wolves.
Crown Point scattered 11 hits and left 13 runners on base.
"When we get our leadoff guy on, we always score, we always score," winning pitcher Jake Kocher said. "When we get a guy on second or third, they get the first out, then the second out, then it all goes downhill from there. But it's better if we get that leadoff guy on."
The Bulldogs batted around in the seventh, scoring their leadoff man Thayne Bukowski, plus another four. Logan Grapenthien knocked a double in the inning to score Bukowski and start the rally.
Kocher threw 6 2/3 innings and struck out six. Jake Jenks tossed to the final batter and forced a diving catch in right-center field by Tyler Downing for the final out that saved two runs.
"We were very fortunate to come out with a win against a very good team today and Jake Kocher pitched a very good game," C.P. coach Steve Strayer said. "Tyler Downing made a spectacular catch in center field.
"It was nice for the offense to come through, because they were a little frustrated today, too. They realize they were making mistakes and we were not clicking on all cylinders, and for them to step up says a lot about our team."
The Times No. 4 Bulldogs (14-5, 7-1) left the bases loaded in the fourth and seventh innings and left two on in the sixth and third.
Logan Kaletha, typically the Wolves' closer, took his first start and struck out four in six-plus innings. He left with two on in the seventh.
"He works hard and battles on everything he does, from conditioning to batting to hitting, so it's not a surprise that Logan is a battler," Michigan City coach David Ortiz said. "It was nice for his team to rally behind him. He's been our leader and there's a different presence, a different attitude when he's out there."
After C.P. took a 1-0 advantage in the third, the Wolves scored four runs in the fourth inning thanks to a small ball mentality. Times No. 5 Michigan City (10-4, 5-3) opened with four straight bunts and took a 2-1 lead without a ball leaving the infield. Another two runs scored when Anthony Lemon singled into center field.
"We just wanted a sac bunt to move the runner over. We get a sac and he's safe," Ortiz said. "Let's do it again, we do it again and he was safe. It was the name of the game when it's a close game and we weren't getting too many hits. We wanted to get that runner to second and see if we can score him. We know we've been a good bunting team, but man, some of those were placed perfectly."