CROWN POINT | Every time Valparaiso punched, Times No. 2 Crown Point punched back one run harder.
It was a running theme by the sixth inning. The Vikings scored two runs in the top half of three separate innings only to have the Bulldogs plate three in the bottom half. And when it was all over, C.P. earned a 9-6 Duneland Athletic Conference victory.
"Since the beginning of the year, once we got down we've kind of lost energy. Today we fought back," junior Jake Jenks said. "It showed a lot of the character on our team to want to fight back and win."
The Bulldogs (19-4, 11-2) remain a game behind Chesterton in the DAC race. C.P. lost to Chesterton 4-3 Monday night.
"We talked about that last night. This is a true test of character getting ready for the sectional. Are we going to be able to come back? " Crown Point manager Steve Strayer said. "I was proud of the kids. They did come back."
Valparaiso (11-10, 6-7) took advantage of two Crown Point errors in the second inning. Stephen Simms singled up the middle with two outs that scored two runs.
"We had some arms that were hanging a little bit," Strayer said. "We made some mistakes, especially with 0-2 count and 1-2 counts and they killed us."
Jenks took the lead right back for the Bulldogs later that inning. The junior outfielder launched a three-run home run that landed well beyond the left field fence.
"I've been working on keeping my hands inside lately and he threw me an inside pitch. I turned on it," Jenks said.
Another Crown Point error in the third led to Sam Miller's two-run double, and Valpo took the lead right back temporarily.
"It's been the M.O. of these guys all season. They don't give up," Vikings coach Dave Coyle said. "You have to do everything you can to stop us because they won't quit fighting."
The Plesac brothers, first Zach and then Ronnie, each doubled in a run and the Bulldogs never trailed again. Jake Jatis's RBI single made the score 6-4 after three innings.
Valparaiso tied it up with a pair in the fifth, including Simms's third RBI. But C.P. scored three more and led 9-6. Pinch-hitter Jake Carey's two-run single was the big blow.