CP baseball looking toward the future
By Anthony Nasella Star correspondent June 18, 2013 11:48AM
Crown Point's Ronnie Plesac pitches against LaPorte in the third inning Wednesday afternoon at LaPorte High School. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 18, 2013 1:21PM
The success of the Crown Point baseball team and its 25-6 record was a definite byproduct of solid offense, defense and pitching.
But two players who undoubtedly played a big part of that success were senior pitchers and brothers Zach and Ronnie Plesac — who not only were the Bulldogs’ top two starting pitchers, but also big offensive contributors.
Both Plesacs anchored the pitching staff while both also hit in the .380s on offense. As a team, Crown Point went 12-2 in the Duneland Conference, though being edged by Chesterton (13-1) for the conference title. The team reached the sectional final before dropping a disheartening 4-1 game to Portage.
“Both Zach and Ronnie really did a good for us,” Crown Point head coach Steve Strayer said. “They both helped us to big success.”
Zach, who will pitch at Ball State, and Ronnie, who will pitch at Parkland College in Illinois, were also counted on the playoffs. In the sectional semifinal win over LaPorte, Zach gave up just three hits, while Ronnie gave up just two hits in the loss to Portage.
“I think we met our expectations with the exception of being eliminated from the state tournament so early,” Strayer said. “We were hoping to make a pretty big run, and unfortunately those plans didn’t work out. We lost to one of the better teams in the state. It just didn’t work out for us.”
An early indication to Strayer that the team had definite potential was an early season victory over Mount Carmel of Chicago, which went on to win the Illinois state title in its class. On offense, leadoff hitter Alex Nickla (.320), No. 2 hitter Glen Hecht and third baseman Jake Jatis were all solid.
“That win (over Mt. Carmel) made us realize that we’re going to be a good team,” Strayer said. “We also scored a big win over Bellmont (Ffort Wayne), as well as victories against Lake Central, Valparaiso and Portage.”
To add to the already strong one-two punch of the Plesac brothers, Noah Burkholder and David Kepshire were both highly effective in the area of wins, ERA and strikeouts. While Kepshire is graduating, Burkholder is just a sophomore — and highly touted one at that.
“We have high expectations for Noah,” he said. “We’re also losing Alex, Bobby Morgan and Johnny Lynk, but we have some good kids coming up.”