LAPORTE | Top-ranked Lake Central and pitcher Jimmy McNamara didn't need any extra motivation for Saturday's Class 4A LaPorte Regional game against Elkhart Central, but a Blue Blazers coach apparently still provided some on Twitter during the week.
"He threw out some tweets," McNamara said. "Our assistant coach printed them off and had them in his back pocket. It's just bulletin board stuff, extra fuel for us."
McNamara went seven innings, allowing just five hits, and a monstrous Chase Fieldhouse home run leading off the sixth gave the Indians a tense 2-1 victory at Schreiber Field.
Penn pounded Valparaiso 14-5 in the opener.
"Honestly, I didn't even watch it," Fieldhouse said of his first-pitch blast to left field. "I just went to first base. I was pumped. I'd never seen (Tyler Tully) from the windup. It was a bit new. Honestly, I was thinking right side, but he threw me something that hung. It felt great off the bat."
Elkhart Central (24-6) got its only run off McNamara when Cory Malcom homered in the second. As he crossed the plate, he turned and saluted McNamara and also pointed the bat at him, prompting the home plate umpire to talk to both coaches.
"Act like you've done it before," L.C. coach Jeff Sandor said. "Jimmy settled in and did a great job."
The Blue Blazers' only other threat came in the fifth, when they wasted a leadoff double. L.C. (29-1) tied the game in the fourth on a two-out Adam Fulk RBI double after Anthony Fushi reached on an error.
"We got the last laugh," McNamara said. "(Malcom's) season's over."
In the opener, Valparaiso committed five errors and was cuffed around for 21 hits by Penn.
"It was just one of those days," Vikings coach Dave Coyle said. "I don't think we had four errors in the entire sectional. It's unfortunate. I feel bad for the kids. They've worked so hard and for them to come out here and have that kind of showing, it's not characteristic of our team."
Penn roughed up Devin Bafia for a dozen hits and eight runs in 4 1/3 innings, but five of the runs were unearned.
"We hurt ourselves early," Coyle said. "Penn's a great hitting team. That was their M.O. Everything that came back on them was that they hit the ball well."
Valpo (20-12) managed just two unearned runs and three hits off Tyler Thompson over six innings. Greg Thome and John Olejniczak each notched two hits for the Vikings.
"(Thompson) kept us at bay in the batter's box all day long," Coyle said. "Our kids didn't give up. Even at the end, they were doing everything they could, fighting and scratching to get back in the game. I was very proud of how hard they worked and the goals they set."