Prep baseball

Washington Township strikes late to take Caston Regional baseball title

2014-06-07T22:40:00Z 2014-06-08T14:54:06Z Washington Township strikes late to take Caston Regional baseball titleJim Peters james.peters@nwi.com, (219) 548-4363 nwitimes.com

FULTON | When it rains it pours.

OK, not literally, in this case.

It was dry Saturday night at Caston. The deluge came in the form of a nine-run sixth inning by Washington Township in the finals of Class A regional. Nine straight Senators reached in the uprising that turned a tie game into a rout, as Washington Township knocked off North White 11-3.

"Bryce (Collins) started us off with a hit that got us going and once we got the energy, we kept it," said winning pitcher Chase Peiffer, who had an RBI single in the big frame. "(Hitting) made me more nervous than pitching. Pitching, I was comfortable. Once I got that hit, it was like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders."

With the game tied at 2, Collins began the sixth with a single, scoring the go-ahead run on a walk to Troy Kwiatkowski after North White (25-7) pulled starter Caleb Hendress in favor of ace Luke Diener. Diener managed just one out, allowing two hits and three walks before his exit. Jake Goodan singled to right to score two and Collins followed with a triple to right to plate two more.

"I get myself in trouble when I try to pull the ball, hit it over the fence," Collins said. "When I just relax and use the whole field to my advantage, it works out a lot better. I had a feeling. Our hitting was just clicking once we got to the sixth inning, and that pretty much closed it."

Collins finished a home run short of the cycle, driving in three runs and scoring two.

"He didn't have much of a (first) game so I expected that out of him," Washington Township coach Randy Roberts said. "He's brings a fight, an edge, to the team that we needed. It's crazy. You don't realize how close you are to losing the same ball game."

Goodan scored three runs to go with his two-run single. Washington (23-8) cranked out five of its nine hits in the sixth after getting nothing to show for several hard-hit balls up to that point.

"All you can do it tell them to take care of themselves, hit the ball hard, don't get yourself out," Roberts said. "Take care of business and the rest will take care of itself."

Peiffer allowed six hits, striking out five and walking three.

"It was a typical Chase performance right there," Roberts said. "He's not a consistent strike thrower, but he's just wild enough to keep them off balance."

"This is the regional, not the regular season. The strike zone is the size of a baseball," Peiffer said. "It's tight. Finding my slider helped and my fastball got better as the game went on."

Semifinal

Washington Township 8, South Central 2: With a strong, unimpeded wind blowing straight in, it was no afternoon to be flexing muscles at the plate.

"It wasn't a hitter's day," Washington Township coach Randy Roberts said. "There was no place to hit where the wind helped. It knocked everything down. I told them it would be a defensive ball game."

The Senators (22-8) managed just six hits, but bunts, walks and four South Central's infield errors added up to an 8-2 win, their fourth over their Porter County Conference opponent this season.

"You go with what's working," Roberts said. "I don't think we scored any of our runs when we hit the ball hard."

South Central starter Logan Lionberger last just 1 2/3 innings after three walks in the second, but it was far from all his doing as Washington scored four runs on one hit. Errors on three straight at-bats followed a Troy Kwiatkowski leadoff single. Another boot contributed to a three-run fourth.

"We knew coming in we had to play a flawless ball game to win," South Central coach Ryan Kruszka said. "They're not going to beat themselves. You've got to make plays. That's been our thing all year. When we do, we're pretty darn good. When we don't, it's tough."

The Satellites (14-15) didn't touch Jake Goodan after notching  unearned runs in the first and third. He allowed just two hits, retiring 13 in a row to finish the game after an error made it 5-2 in the third.

"It's been that sort of thing for me a couple games," Goodan said. "I can't find my off-speed early, but as the game goes on, it comes easier.  It was a bit of a tight strike zone and I was trying to adjust. It took me a little while to get in rhythm. We had a couple errors at the beginning of the game and we just had to calm down. The team did a great job of not panicking, gathering ourselves and getting an out, not letting one run turn into five."

Goodan fanned nine and walked two, both of those in the first inning.

"He didn't look very confident at all in the first inning," Roberts said. "After that, he came out and was his old self. He has a really good change-up, but he didn't use it much. He didn't have to."

Kruszka had not seen Goodan in any of South Central's previous meetings with Washington, and would have just as soon kept it that way. The Senators needed to make just one outfield putout.

"He's got a very good two-seam (fastball) that he keeps down in the zone," Kruszka said. "When you've got a pitcher like that who throws hard and can throw three pitches for strikes, you've got to take what he gives you. If you don't, it's going to be a rough day. He was impressive. He threw a phenomenal game. If they keep doing what they're doing, they could make some noise here quick. I hope we see them down in Indianapolis."

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