ST. JOHN | Ever have one of those days when nothing went right for you?
That's probably how Portage felt after its 10-0 Duneland Athletic Conference loss to Times No. 5 Lake Central on a rainy Thursday.
Lake Central (16-5, 8-3 DAC) scored all of its runs in the first two innings and did it on only four hits.
The catch was that Portage (13-10, 4-8) gave L.C. 10 free base runners after a combined eight walks, a hit batsman and an error.
"If you give that many free bases to a good team, it will get ugly quick," Portage coach Tim Pirowski said. "We're working behind hitters in counts, and when you have too many walks, it's a recipe for disaster."
The largest blow for Lake Central came off the bat of senior first baseman Tony Schneider, who hit a grand slam.
After Portage starter Jacob Bearss walked three of the first four L.C. hitters, Pirowski came out to the mound to calm down his starter.
On the next pitch, Schneider belted his first-ever home run, an opposite-field blast over the left field wall.
"I was just trying to get us on the board," Schneider said. "I was looking for a fastball and took advantage. It feels really good, because it was my first one in four years."
Lake Central matched its output in the first inning with five runs on just two hits, including an RBI single from catcher Cody Brack.
"These are big games for us, because statewide we don't know where we sit. We had one good showing and one bad showing down in Indianapolis," L.C. coach Jeff Sandor said. "We were efficient and with every situation pending, we're very aggressive."
Portage, which actually outhit L.C. six to five, thought it would catch a break in the fourth after John Velez singled, but after L.C. center fielder Alec Olund missed a diving catch, right fielder Steve Fulk backed him up and threw out Velez at second.
"That's just a great play. Normally players are lining up for third on that, but Steve backed him up and made an unbelievable play," Sandor said. "Mentally we're getting there. We were emotionally unstable as baseball players and didn't expect to fail, but when we did, we didn't deal with it well."