LAPORTE — As heavy-footed catchers go, Brett Roeske doesn't need a "Caution: Slow-Moving Vehicle" sign attached to his back.
"I've always had speed since I was little," the Trojans backstop said. "As I got older, they started pinch running for me just to keep the game going by fast."
Roeske's underrated wheels were a difference maker Saturday in the Class 4A LaPorte Regional semifinals. He legged out in an infield hit in the bottom of the ninth inning and scored all the way from first on a Chris Torres double to give the Trojans a dramatic 4-3 walk-off victory at Schreiber Field.
"I'm always like, 'Can I run? Let me run,'" Roeske said. "One of the things I always know is if it's hit in the gap, I'm scoring from first. It was (a) 3-2 (count) so I was off with the pitch."
After Roeske legged out the ground ball to the shortstop, Chesterton coach Jack Campbell thought about running for him, but assistant coach Justin Jenks and Roeske convinced him otherwise. When Torres lined the ball into the left-field corner, there was no hesitation to send Roeske, and he scored easily as the relay wasn't clean.
"He's always wanting to run for himself," Campbell said. "He always gives me the wave-off. He's a good base runner. It's not that he can't run. It's just that he's a catcher and it's more he doesn't have to. We had somebody ready to go. (They) said he was good."
Torres, who stranded runners at the corners in the top of the ninth, was up with two outs and Roeske at first when he delivered the game winner on a Max Born offering.
"(Roeske)'s a great runner," Torres said. "He always takes the extra base. I was just trying to put something out there to move him."
For Indians coach Mike Swartzentruber, the inning went back to the infield hit.
"If Conner (Tomasic's) 100 percent, he makes that play," he said of his shortstop, who pulled a hamstring in practice Wednesday. "I knew we couldn't (pitch) him much. Max has pitched as well as anybody the last six weeks. We felt comfortable being able to get Torres out if we make a pitch, we just didn't do it."
An Evan Hand home run off Austin Peterson gave L.C. (24-6) a 3-1 lead in the fifth. The Indians scratched out an error-aided run in the first and another in the third without hitting the ball out of the infield, setting up both scores with stolen bases.
"(Running) was something we knew we could do," Swartzentruber said. "The best way to defend the running game is to keep them off first base. When you have scoring opportunities against a guy like Peterson, you have to take advantage."
The Trojans (19-8) tied the game against Zack Dobos with two outs in the sixth when Peterson singled in Connor Krantz and Grant Brunt tripled to deep center.
"We keep fighting. It's not over until the last out, as you can tell," Roeske said. "We learned from last year. You have to stay cool, stay focused. It's always the next pitch only, not the next game."