Big picture: Jonathan Sabotnik played a different role Saturday.
The Crown Point junior usually hits leadoff. When he pitches, it’s usually in relief. But he started and batted in the three hole and it paid off for C.P.
With two outs and two strikes in the eighth inning of a scoreless game, Sabotnik took an inside curveball and dumped it into shallow centerfield for a single that scored Jacob Bosse and gave the Times No. 2 Bulldogs a walkoff 1-0 win in eight innings.
“I was just trying to get it out there and make something happen, try to win the game,” Sabotnik said. “I was just trying forget about my other at bats and focus on that one, just get a hit.”
Sabotnik was 0-3 in his previous at-bats.
“We’ve been really working on that this year, with two strikes,” said CP coach Steve Strayer, who picked up his 600th career win. “We’ve been having too many strikes out for the past two or three years so we’ve been really fighting to get the ball in play and make something happen. He did that.”
Sabotnik kept the Bulldogs in the game from the mound, as well. He pitched seven innings.
Strayer said Sabotnik picked up the start with for injured senior Marek Bauner.
“He shined today. I thought he looked really sharp on the mound,” Strayer said.
Penn starter Hayden Berg also threw seven shutout innings, striking out six.
“They had us off balance all day. They pitched us really well,” Strayer said.
Turning Point: Josh Lindeman knocked a single in the eighth inning to move Bosse to third base, setting up Sabotnik’s game-winner.
Crown Point player of the game: Sabotnik — The junior allowed no runs on five hits and struck out five on top the of driving in the game’s only run.
Quote: “(Penn) is probably the most impressive team we’ve played so far. They’re athletic. They’ve got arms all across the field. They’re big kids. They can run,” Strayer said. “We beat a very good team today. No offense to (Lake Central).”
Beyond the box score: The Kingsmen are ranked No. 4 in Class 4A in the latest state coaches poll and No. 1 by Prep Baseball Report. C.P. is ranked No. 1 by coaches and No. 3 by PBR.
Up next: Crown Point hosted Concord later Saturday. The Bulldogs (9-1) travel to Michigan City for a 4:30 p.m. game Wednesday.