HAMMOND | Joe Romero has had a pretty memorable year, to say the least.
He was the first player to ever belt a home run out of Whiting's new $9 million baseball field, Oil City Stadium.
The Clark third baseman also had the key hit in an eight-run third inning that propelled the Pioneers to their fourth-straight Class 3A sectional title with a 14-0 destruction of Hammond Monday afternoon.
"This has been my best year playing baseball," said Romero, who went 1-for-2 with a run. "I listened to coach, worked on my stance, and have tried to get my hands through quicker."
Clark (21-9) sent 13 batters to the plate in a third inning that saw nine hits and seven consecutive runs score.
"We made adjustments after five of our first six batters flew out. We got on top of the ball and after one hit gets us going, it's contagious," Clark coach Chris Moore said.
With two runs in already, Romero's three-run double came after catcher Alex Evanich, shortstop Luis Haro, and pitcher Jordan Polak all reached base.
Polak did the rest, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out 11 in four innings of work.
"We just stayed focused and had fun playing baseball," said Polak, who added an RBI single and a run. "I feel pretty good having four sectional titles, but I'd rather get a regional under my belt."
Hammond (3-14) put five men on base in five innings.
"Clark did what they were expected to do. We're very young and very inexperienced and don't really know how to handle these situations, but we took some giant steps forward," Hammond coach Michael Siwy said.