PORTAGE | It was out-of-hand early.
A first-inning offensive explosion propelled Times No. 2 Crown Point to a 7-1 Duneland Athletic Conference win over Portage on Thursday.
"It was important to come out here and do well," Crown Point coach Steve Strayer said. "We're trying to get ready for the sectional. (Portage) is a sectional opponent, and we could see them in the championship game."
Every hitter in the Crown Point lineup came to the plate in the first inning, and five of them scored. Johnny Lynk's double with the bases loaded brought in three.
"I knew it was a big moment, because it was bases loaded, DAC game. I was just looking for a pitch to drive," Lynk said. "We were hungry to get another DAC win. Hopefully Chesterton lost, and we could share the title."
The win would've given Crown Point (20-4, 12-2) a share of the DAC championship. Chesterton, however, didn't cooperate. The Trojans beat Lake Central and are sole champs.
"We wanted to finish up and control what we could control," Strayer said. "We got 12 wins in the Duneland Conference, which is very respectable. We're happy with that."
Portage (14-12, 4-10) didn't help itself in that decisive first inning, missing opportunities to stifle the rally.
"I think that first inning, we misplayed a fly ball that should've been an out and made another error that should've got us out of the inning," Portage coach Tim Pirowski said. "You give a team like Crown Point five outs, they're going to make you pay."
Bobby Morgan plated two more for C.P. with a double in the third that made it 7-0.
"We have to start getting hot. Next week starts the sectional," Lynk said. "We're getting hot at the right time."
The Indians scored in the fourth when Kevin Jones singled with the bases loaded. It would be all the Indians would get, though, leaving the maximum in the frame.