VALPARAISO | Crown Point got on the board early and spoiled senior night for Valparaiso on Thursday. The Bulldogs won their ninth consecutive game in a 6-1 victory against the Vikings.
“Losing a lot of people to injuries made us reach down a little bit, and get a bit tougher. I think that’s helped,” Crown Point coach Steve Strayer said. “We’re starting to get those injured guys back. It helps a lot when you get some of your talent back, and it gives us more depth.”
Two of their returning players, catcher Bobby Morgan and Ron Plesac, combined for three hits and three RBI’s.
A two-run home run by Alex Nickla gave Crown Point a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Over the next two innings, the Bulldogs would have the bases loaded five times but only scored twice, both when Plesac was at bat. The Bulldogs also stranded 10 runners on base during the game.
“I was a little worried, because we left a lot of guys in scoring position and didn’t come through with a hit,” Steve Strayer said. “I thought it might have come back and bite us, but our pitchers did a good job at keeping them off balance, and I guess six runs is enough.”
The Bulldogs (23-4, 11-3) went through three pitchers in the game, combing for one run, six hits, seven strike outs and only one walk.
“We were very frustrated with the fact we didn’t produce much hitting-wise,” Valparaiso coach Dave Coyle said. “We got stifled again at the plate and that’s always frustrating. I thought we watched too many outside pitches and didn’t take the ball the opposite side of the field.”
The Vikings (16-11, 7-7) scored on a CJ Gear double to center field that brought in Devin Bafia in the fifth inning, and five of their six hits came in the last three innings.
“One thing that happens is you get a sense of urgency,” Coyle said. “We weren’t so selective at plate and we were starting to get the ball in play more, which is the way you need to start off in the first inning, to become more offensive and not reactive.”
Plesac singled to right center field in the sixth inning, and after a catching error by Jeff Holmes, Jake Lindeman and Joe Hopman scored to put the Bulldogs up 6-1.
“The error is something you can’t let happen and allow two more runs in, and that kind of took us out of the ball game at that point,” Coyle said.
Andrew Sykes pitched two innings for the Vikings, walking four and striking out three while allowing two runs. John Olejniczak allowed five hits, seven strike outs and three walks.