PORTAGE | It took five innings, but the Portage baseball team finally got to Valparaiso reliever Devin Bafia.
The Times No. 3 Indians had three hits and scored two runs off of Bafia in the sixth inning to rally for a 3-2 victory over the No. 8 Vikings in Duneland Athletic Conference action Tuesday.
“I was telling our guys, that’s the sign of a good team, kind of winning ugly,” Portage coach Tim Pirowski said. “When you don’t play your best necessarily, but you still win the game, I think that says a lot about our guys.”
CJ Haupt drove in the game-winning run for the Indians (20-5, 8-5 DAC) on a shallow single to left field with two outs that plated Justin Newcomb from second. Newcomb stole second as Zach Thorn struck out and just beat catcher Joey Gallinatti’s throw to the bag.
“He was lucky he was safe, because I wasn’t too happy about that,” Pirowski said.
Newcomb tied the game with a single that scored Zach Simmons, who had doubled off of Bafia with one out.
Bafia entered in the game for the Vikings (16-10, 7-6 DAC) with two outs in the bottom of the first. He worked out of a bases-loaded jam and retired 14 of the first 16 hitters he faced before allowing the double to Simmons. He gave four hits and struck out six in 5 1/3 innings of relief.
“What happened to him in the sixth will be a great learning experience. I don’t think he’s been in trouble all year long,” Valparaiso coach David Coyle said.
Gallinatti, who finished with two hits and a run scored, put the Vikings ahead 2-1 in the sixth on a single to left that drove in pinch runner Jake Miller.
Valparaiso put the leadoff hitter aboard in the top of the seventh, but Ren Lozano popped up a bunt attempt that first baseman David Jercha made a diving play on and was able to double off CJ Gear at first.
“We did not execute offensively, and we need to learn to make sure we can put a bunt down,” Coyle said.
Kris Springman scattered six hits and needed just 73 pitches to toss the complete game for Portage.
“He battled all day really. He pounded the strike zone,” Pirowski said.
Eric Mesarch, who led off the bottom of the first with a home run on the first pitch from Lozano, finished 2-for-4 at the plate.