GARY | Chris Lauderback's great grandmother died last Thursday.
With the funeral in Michigan another week away, the River Forest junior was at a loss for how to mourn.
On Tuesday night he used her memory as motivation in his first game since the bad news, and he pitched a five-hit complete game as the Ingots beat rival Lake Station 4-1 at U.S. Steel Yard to snap a four-game losing streak in the rivalry series.
“I really appreciate my team being there for me; I couldn’t do this without them. I really love them,” Lauderback said.
“She was important in my life, and I don’t know what I would have done without her, and I don’t know what I would do without this team.”
Lauderback said he had to be tough at The Steel Yard, where the Ingots are now 5-0 all-time, but his curveball helped him out of tough spots.
“You have to have a strong heart,” Lauderback said. “You have to have the will to go out there and put everything aside.”
With a runner on third and a full count with two out in the top of the seventh, Lauderback notched his eighth strikeout to end the game after 10 p.m. in the nightcap of a RailCats High School Challenge doubleheader. He surrendered just two walks and faced just nine over the minimum and earned game MVP honors for the second time in three years.
Lake Station (3-5, 2-1 Greater South Shore Conference) scored its lone run on starting pitcher Kody Lemley’s sacrifice fly in the third inning.
The Ingots (4-4) scored single runs in the second through fourth innings.
Omar Nunez walked and scored on three wild pitches to put River Forest ahead 1-0, then reached on a dropped third strike and watched pinch-runner Jordan Maturo score to make the score 3-1.
Lauderback sealed his win with an RBI single in the fifth inning, capping a 2-for-3 night.