As senior Patrick Terry came to bat in the fourth inning Saturday, Andrean led 13-2 and not much was at stake.
That didn’t stop the crowd from going wild at the announcement of his name.
Terry has earned the sympathy of the crowd for devoting all of his non-school, non-baseball time to caring for his mother, who has Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS). He writes ‘4M’ on his shoes to remind him that everything he does is “for Mom.”
Terry ripped a two-run double, his first extra-base hit of the season, in the fourth to put the 59ers up 15-2, part of a nine-run inning. He walked in the fifth inning.
“Everybody loves Patrick Terry,” Andrean coach Dave Pishkur said. “When he gets a chance, the parents are the first to embrace him, and so does everybody else. It’s a tough year. His mom has ALS and can’t communicate. Patrick’s had to be the nurse at times and not the son anymore. He’s had it very difficult, and I think that’s why he’s the crowd favorite.”
Of the 22 players on Andrean’s roster, 21 entered Saturday’s Class 3A Plymouth Semistate, which Andrean won 18-2 over Fort Wayne Dwenger in five innings.
Cullan Carey, a relief pitcher, stayed on the bench in case of emergency or injury.
Local blue: Northwest Indiana umpire Zach Sliwa, a LaPorte grad who coaches football and teaches at Merrillville, worked the Kokomo Semistate, handling first base for the Class A game and calling balls and strikes in the Class 2A contest.
Future forecast: Washington Township graduates several key seniors, but the Senators can never be discounted. Troy Kwiatkowski, Chase Peiffer and Jordan Williams will be the core of next spring's squad.
"I've always been the youngest guy on my team," said Kwiatkowski, a sophomore. "I have all great teammates. They always encourage me, help me when I'm down. I wish I can do that for the younger guys (next year).
"Washington Township's always going to work hard. We're always going to be on the map."
Jake Goodan was one of seven Senators to play their last high school game.
"You want to go out with a win, but I'm real proud of my teammates and what we accomplished this year," Goodan said. "We had a lot of tough spots and we stuck together."
Porter County drought: Washington Township was bidding to become the first Porter County school to make the state finals. LaPorte leads the region with 11 appearances, followed by Bishop Noll (five) and Andrean, which will be going to Indianapolis for the fifth time.
Among the list of nine schools with five or more state berths, five are Catholic.
Thanks for the memories: Lake Central coach Jeff Sandor brought his seniors up in front of the team during the post-game huddle and thanked each of them for teaching him so many things.
“I learned never to quit,” Sandor said. “I learned how to be a better learner, how to be a better person, and I learned to take ownership of mistakes -- all things that are attributes of doing this job and doing it the right way.”
Of the 11 seniors on the roster, four of them -- Alec Olund, Alex Mantel, Brenden Seren and Johnny Gbur -- were sophomores on the team when Lake Central won state in 2012.
“Big parts of our heartbeat this year, big parts of what we did,” Sandor said.
That 2012 team was favored to win most of its games while the 2014 team was an underdog and played from behind quite often. The team was 6-8, then 10-9 and finished 23-11.
“I’m really proud of the way we showed some heart these last couple weeks of the season,” Olund said. “It’s really been awesome to be a part of. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s been an awesome four years.”
Easy comparisons: Two of Lake Central's four seniors that were sophomores on the 2012 state title team said that there were similarities and differences easily found between the two squads.
"That team was very senior heavy like this team, but that team was something special," said center fielder Olund, who was a starter on the 2012 squad. "You know, 32-1 and the one loss was something we gave away on some errors. That was just a team we knew we were the best all year long.
"Really the biggest difference between that year and this year was starting off slow. Being 6-8, 10-9, 2-6, there's many times we needed to look at each other in the mirror and say 'how are we going to be?' Everyone was doubting us, we weren't ranked in the paper, we weren't ranked in the state, but hey, it doesn't matter what people think about us, it's about the nine guys we put out there and the guys in the dugout. We've just got to believe into each other. As the year went on, we turned into the 2012 team."
Starting pitcher Seren agreed, that a dugout presence had as much to do with the 2012 season as it did this year.
In 2012, the Indians were down by two runs in the seventh inning before an error helped tie the game and send it to extras.
"Being in the dugout when that happened, you could feel the vibe and it wasn't really as hyped up," Seren said. "Until the kid dropped the ball, you could just feel the energy explode. That was the biggest game changer I've been a part of at L.C."
The Indians were down by a run with two runners on Saturday with a fly ball to left field ending the game.
— Times Staff Writers Jim Peters and Hillary Smith and Times Correspondent Paul Trembacki contributed to this notebook.