SOUTH BEND | Jose Andrade remained calm, despite Saturday afternoon marking the end of his illustrious high school career with Crown Point.
The Bulldogs first baseman was a small bright spot in an otherwise dim offensive attack, leading C.P. with two hits in a 9-2 loss to Fort Wayne Carroll in the Class 4A northern Semistate at Coveleski Stadium in South Bend.
"It's a big game -- we're young," Andrade said. "No matter what people think, I know we tried. I know this team. We gave everything we had."
Try as the Bulldogs might, however, it was simply too tough to overcome four costly fielding errors and an offense that mustered just four total hits and didn't enter the line score until the sixth inning, when Austin Stanley and Jake Lindeman scored to cut the deficit 9-2.
"Those are mistakes that just kind of snowballed," Crown Point coach Steve Strayer said. "A lot of that had to do with the pressure that Carroll put on us. They got a lead, they had nothing to lose and they put a lot of pressure on us. I think that's a reason you saw some of the mistakes we made. Hopefully, our younger kids learn from this."
Carroll, the defending Class 4A state champions, jumped out to a 6-0 lead after three innings of play. Bulldogs starter Nick Nauracy didn't have his best stuff on the mound, and the Chargers (31-2) took advantage early.
"It was that, and they just had momentum at the start," Nauracy said. "We were trying to get it back, and they just kept rallying with hits. I wasn't executing well with pitches. It just wasn't my day."
Strayer pulled Nauracy after two innings, pitching Ron Plesac for an inning and Zach Plesac for three innings before Steve Lowe worked the final inning for C.P. (21-12).
"He just wasn't locating his pitches like he needed to," Strayer said. "It's too bad, because if he would have had his good stuff today, I'd like to see what we could have done."
For C.P., making it this far in the postseason seemed almost unfeasible earlier this season when they were under .500. Andrade credited Strayer for keeping the team's confidence up to fight through that adversity.
"He did a great job," Andrade said. "He brought everyone together and we played as a team. In the past couple years, we had a lot of individuals. I love this team more than anything."
Carroll will face Indianapolis Cathedral, which beat Terre Haute South 1-0 in the 4A southern Semistate.