Crown Point Babe Ruth 20s getting on a roll
By Anthony Nasella Star correspondent June 25, 2013 11:36AM
Crown Point 20 teammates Jack Vinovich (left) and Glenn Hecht have helped their team get on a roll recently. | Anthony Nasella~For the Post-Tribune
Updated: June 27, 2013 3:19PM
With seven games in the books and preparing for a doubleheader on Thursday against Hammond, Crown Point 20’s head coach TJ Pruzin admitted that his team was still looking to find its hitting niche.
After struggling in the first game against Hammond, the team’s bats came to life early and late in the nightcap.
The CP 20’s jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the second game, only to see Hammond tie it up at 7-7. But the team scored three in the sixth and four in the seventh for a 14-7 win and a doubleheader split, improving to 5-4 on the young season. Leading the way was Glenn Hecht (3-for-5, three RBI), Jake Ryan (2-for-4, two RBI) and Freddie Newman (3-for-3, RBI).
“We finally got the bats going,” Pruzin said. “We found a rhythm and started hitting as a team. We have a lot of really good kids on this team — on and off the field. This is my first year coaching the kids, but my assistant (Dan Grapenthien) has been with these kids for the past four years.”
In terms of seniority, CP 20 boasts two kids who will be seniors this year at Crown Point High School — Hecht and Jack Vinovich. Both see obvious room for improvement.
“I think we have to mature a lot because this is a team that going to be the high school team because everybody else on the team will be juniors and moving up to varsity next season,” Hecht said. “We have to fill in some spots and we have to keep providing leadership and mature as players.
“We have to let know the rest of the guys know a lot about pitching. It’s so different from JV to varsity. We’re also all working on our swings, so have some work to do on that. Babe Ruth is a little more relaxing — not as much pressure. It’s a lot of fun.”
Vinovich said the team is also working on improving in the area of base running.
“That’s something a lot of guys struggle with,” he said. “Trying to get good reads off the ball and off the pitcher for good pickoffs is tough. It comes down a lot to getting ready for pitching.”
Interestingly, in the second game against Hammond, CP 20 lost track of the innings late and thought they had sealed a 10-7 victory; it turned out to be Hammond’s sixth inning.
Crown Point made the sure the miscalculation didn’t matter, tacking on four insurance runs in the top of the seventh with RBIs coming from Ryan, Vinovich, Dale Wentz and Jake Koccher. Now down seven runs, Hammond tallied just one in its half of the seventh as Wentz closed out the game on the mound.
Wentz had squelched a Hammond rally with the bases loaded in the sixth, throwing out a potential scorer from second base after a wild pitch for the second out, and forcing the next batter to fly out and preserve a then three-run lead.
“The Hammond games definitely had the feel of a Saturday varsity doubleheader,” Vinovich said. “It’s all about maintaining focus. Sometimes, you get a little lost and go through the motions. But when we get a big lead like we did in the second game, we have to put our foot their throat and finish them. We knew we had to overcome that first game and just get the win.”