CHESTERTON | Aery Pratt’s final home at bat gave the Chesterton senior a memory he won’t soon forget.
Pratt delivered a two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the sixth to give Chesterton the lead for good in the Trojans’ 5-3 win over Lake Central on Thursday, which clinched the outright Duneland Athletic Conference baseball title for The Times No. 3 Trojans.
Chesterton finished with a 13-1 DAC record, one game ahead of Crown Point in the standings.
“Our mantra is ‘Find a way,’ and we found a way,” Chesterton coach Jack Campbell said. “We’ve been doing that for 14 in a row.”
Pratt lined the first pitch from Blake Bosold into right field that plated Michael Griffin and Andrew Ralph.
“(Bosold) threw me a curveball first pitch (in my) last at bat, and I just missed it,” Pratt said. “So I told myself I was swinging at nothing but curveballs. If I got a fastball, so be it, but I was looking curveball, and I got a good pitch to hit.”
Pratt finished with a pair of hits and a walk and drove in two.
“He’s one of the best hitters we’ve had here in a long time,” Campbell said. “It was a big-time hit. People get big-time hits in big-time situations. He’s just one of those kids.”
The Trojans (18-4, 13-1) fell behind 3-0 after the first inning and chipped away at the lead with two runs in the third and a solo run in the fourth.
Mike Crowley doubled to left to make it 3-2, and Mitch Kobitz came around to score on a Lake Central fielding error in the outfield to tie the game.
“The difference in the game was we made errors on consecutive plays and gave them a few freebies,” Lake Central coach Jeff Sandor said.
Kobitz had a shaky first inning with three runs and four hits allowed, but then settled down to go the distance and get the win. He gave up two hits over the final six innings.
Tony Schneider had a two-run single for the Indians (18-8, 10-4), and Alec Olund chipped in with a run-scoring single.
Ralph had three hits and scored twice for Chesterton.
“We had a lot of kids this year who were basically unproven, and they showed what they are made of,” Campbell said.