CROWN POINT | Chesterton shortstop Corey Rusboldt was playing his normal position with one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh. It turned out to be a good thing for the Trojans.
Rusboldt, who was at double-play depth, caught a line drive off the bat of Zach Plesac and beat Alex Nickla to second to complete a double play and preserve Chesterton’s 4-3 win against Crown Point in a pivotal Duneland Athletic Conference game on Monday.
“Something has to be said about guys staying composed in the ball game,” Chesterton coach Jack Campbell said.
The Times No. 3 Trojans control their own destiny in the final week of DAC play. Chesterton (16-4, 11-1) leads Crown Point by one game with two games to go.
Crown Point put two runners on with singles in the seventh when Campbell brought in Mitch Kobitz to try and nail down the save.
Kobitz got Glenn Hecht to hit a fly ball to right, but outfielder Jordan Morandini couldn’t make the catch, and the bases were loaded.
Plesac hit a 1-2 pitch from Kobitz that was destined for center field before Rusboldt snagged it.
“I was playing where I normally do, and I just saw it and made the play,” Rusboldt said.
Rusboldt’s play came three innings after his error had allowed Crown Point (18-4, 10-2) to tie the game.
“Baseball’s a game of mistakes and how you deal with them, and obviously, he dealt with that very well,” Campbell said.
Chesterton pushed across the eventual winning run without a hit in the sixth. Aery Pratt walked and courtesy runner Jeremy Jaeger ended up on third after Austin VanderZanden bunted and the throw to get the force at second went into center field. A fielder’s choice from Mike Crowley scored Jaeger and put the Trojans ahead for good.
“They’ve got our number,” Crown Point coach Steve Strayer said. “They outplayed us and hopefully we’ll get a chance to see them in the sectional.”
Pratt allowed eight hits and three runs in getting the win. He struck out four and walked none.
Jake Jatis had a solo home run and two doubles to lead the Bulldogs.