ST. JOHN | In the third inning, Lake Central shortstop Brenden Seren hit a ball that seemed to take a long, slow fall toward the left-field fence.
The wind took hold of it just long enough for Valparaiso's Sam Miller to track it, jump and nab it as it went over the fence, robbing Seren of a home run.
Seren went on to a 3-for-4 day with a single, double and a triple, needing that dinger to secure the cycle in Lake Central's 8-5 win over the Vikings on Tuesday.
"We just needed to work more as a team (over the last two weeks)," Seren said. "We were getting down on each other, and ourselves and get our chemistry built and get through the next play. We needed to work through it as a team."
Seren's triple was part of a three-hit first that erased an early 2-0 Vikings lead.
His double led off the fifth inning, at which point Lake Central had taken a 6-3 lead and built on it when Seren scored on an error.
He hit an RBI single in the sixth inning, just after he told fellow junior Alec Olund that a simple single would have secured him the cycle.
"Once I had the double and the triple, I was like 'Dude, if I hit a single that would have been the cycle,' and then I hit it," Seren said. "That would have been my first home run of the season."
From the top of the hitting order, Lake Central (14-5, 7-3) picked up eight of its 11 hits and six of its runs off of Valparaiso pitcher Andrew Watson, who pitched a complete game.
"We have the best top four hitters around, they're absolutely outstanding," Lake Central coach Jeff Sandor said. "We've made some plays defensively, and our pitchers have done a good job throwing strikes which has led to us minimizing damage from the other team."
Watson walked three and struck out one in his first loss of the season.
Lake Central starter Aaron Glatt pitched 4 1/3 innings in his third win of the year, allowing three runs and leaving after loading the bases in the fifth inning. His reliever, Blake Bosold, struck out one and didn't walk any in 2 2/3 innings.
"We've learned that we're five and done with our starters, we've committed to that," Sandor said. "We've got a guy ready in the fifth to come in from the bullpen."
Valparaiso added a run in the sixth on an error, a balk and then a two-base error as the ball was over thrown trying to pick catcher C.J. Gear off at second base.
Ethan Lehnen scored a run and drove in two in his 3-for-3 day for the Vikings. Valparaiso (8-9, 5-6) had nine hits, three each in the first, fifth and seventh innings. The bats went silent in the middle of the game.
"Our problem has been 3-4-5-6 went silent," Valparaiso coach Dave Coyle said. "We have got to find a way to hit the ball consistently through seven innings of play and we don't do that right now. It's extremely frustrating for me, it's extremely frustrating for them and we're getting to the end of the season and we're still not finding that rhythm. Hopefully that turns around down the road, and things start going your way, but I'll tell you what I'm so tired of saying that I could almost vomit."