HAMMOND | Nick Geisen retired the final two batters in order with the bases loaded, leading Crown Point to a 4-3 nail biting win over host Hammond in Thursday night's semifinals of the Cal Ripken World Series.
Geisen fielded a two-out grounder by Randall Perrin and made the throw to first to retire Perrin by an eyelash.
Crown Point meets Kingsbridge, N.Y. at 7 p.m. today for the title.
"Like I said before, we find a way to win," Crown Point manager Bob Bauner said of his team. "We knew it would take a team effort when facing someone like Randall (Perrin). We've been seeing this guy for five years, and he keeps getting better and better."
Perrin, who had eight consecutive strikeouts at one point, allowed just two hits and had 17 strikeouts, but Crown Point still found a way to scratch out some runs.
Crown Point leadoff hitter Marek Bauner started the game with a single up the middle, and he later came around on a series of passed balls.
Perrin's RBI double in the first was part of a two-run frame, and Hammond added another run in the second to take a 3-1 lead.
Crown Point tied the game in the fourth as Logan Ryan and Kenny Michaels scored on consecutive passed balls.
Pinch-hitter Jake Schalasky was hit by a pitch in the fifth and later scored on a throwing error, giving C.P. the lead for good.
Crown Point starting pitcher Logan Ryan overcame a bit of wildness in the first inning and stuck around to fan seven through three. He got out of a bases-loaded jam in the second, then struck out three of the four hitters he faced in the third.
The game, the 24th of the series, was easily the most-attended contest of the tournament. More than 2,500 lined the grandstands and the bleachers surrounding the Hammond Optimist Youth Sport Complex's Field No. 5.
"I don't remember a bigger youth baseball game than this one," Optimist manager Tom McDermott Jr. said. "I just wish it ended better."