CROWN POINT | The Lake Central-Crown Point rivalry baseball game ended under lights like a regional final might.
It had a postseason feel to it, too.
As in any rivalry, the ending was as unpredictable as it could be.
Down five runs, Lake Central tried a rally in the final two innings and put the go-ahead runner on second in the seventh.
Crown Point's Jeremy Swart ended the Duneland Athletic Conference matchup facing his only batter of the night and struck him out as the Bulldogs held their conference lead with a 5-3 win.
"It's always intense, even with either team doesn't have the players, they both still come to play," C.P. centerfielder Tyler Downing said. "It's always nice to come out and win these games, hopefully we see them later on down the road. Hopefully."
Lake Central loaded the bases in both the sixth and seventh innings, the latter thanks to four straight walks from two different C.P. pitchers.
In the sixth, Brenden Seren, who also pitched the complete game for the Indians (10-9, 6-4), opened with a double and scored on a single from Chuck Alexa. Three straight walks helped score Alexa and tighten the Crown Point lead to 5-2.
The Bulldogs (16-5, 9-1) took the lead with three unearned runs in an error-filled second inning.
"This is a good lesson for our kids: we have a pretty good ballclub, but we had that one hump of an inning," Lake Central coach Jeff Sandor said. "We're going to clean those things up. We're happy with the way the kids competed and I thought Brenden was outstanding."
By the end of the fourth, C.P. held a 5-0 lead after Jack Vinovich scored his second run of the game.
Bulldogs pitcher Jake Kocher threw 5 1/3 innings in his second DAC game of the week. He earned the win at Michigan City on Monday.
"Jake Kocher pitched a heck of a game," Downing said. "Our two biggest games so far and he pitches them both in the same week. Great to have him on the team."
The Bulldogs scattered 10 hits against Seren, who limited the C.P. offense later in the game.
Downing hit a pair of doubles and was one of four batters with two hits apiece.
"It was nice getting the lead," C.P. coach Steve Strayer said. "I think it really helped Jake, he got in his comfort zone out there and I think he's a little upset he couldn't finish it out and maybe that makes him a little hungrier the next time he gets out there."