GARY | Victory Christian baseball coach Ryan Bratcher gives his players a simple motto to live by: put the ball in play.
"If you strike out, you're not going to get very much production," Bratcher said. "If you get the ball in the field, you have a better chance of moving guys around, and tagging up."
The Lions held steady to the mantra, utilizing every opportunity in a 13-3 five-inning victory over Calumet Christian on Saturday at U.S. Steel Yard.
Victory Christian tallied runs on errors, walks and heads-up base running.
The Lions took a 4-1 lead in the first as the Pioneers committed a pair of errors in the inning, two that helped catcher Michael Vershay score. The senior reached on an error, stole second, took third on a wild pitch and scored on an error.
Calumet Christian didn't go quietly into the night. The Pioneers tried a rally with two runs in the third inning, also on one hit.
The two teams brought in relievers in the fourth who began to throw strikes. Joey Vershay, the Victory Christian middle reliever, struck out the side and allowed a hit in his first inning, finishing with four strikeouts. Austin Spearson also struck out the first three batters he faced and had five strikeouts.
"(Joey Vershay) is new to the program as a freshman, and he's been a nice addition," Bratcher said. "He's been our most consistent pitcher so far."
Joey Vershay also went 2-for-3 with three runs. The Lions (5-3) have won three in a row.
Calumet Christian coach Terry Cheek said that his team was overwhelmed playing in the big ballpark on a cold night. His young team committed eight errors.
"I think they were a little star struck by the lights," Cheek said. "Some of them said as they were coming off the field that they could see spots. They're not used to playing on a field like this at a small school."
Robert Cheek led the Pioneers (3-2) going 1-for-2 with a run.