Baseball: Mitch Kobitz comes up with save in Chesterton’s win over Valparaiso
CHESTERTON — Just 48 hours removed from a complete-game victory over Portage, Chesterton senior Mitch Kobitz again came to the mound, this time in relief duty in the fifth inning with his Trojans leading DAC rival Valparaiso by a run.
Kobitz blanked the Vikings in his 21/3 innings of work, preserving that 3-2 score for Chesterton’s seventh straight win.
“I asked him how he was doing and he said he could go for a couple of innings,” Chesterton (12-4, 7-1 DAC) head coach Jack Campbell said, adding that Kobitz was given some rest in Tuesday’s game by sliding into the designated hitter spot.
When Kobitz entered the game, Valparaiso (7-6, 4-4 DAC) had just added its second run of the game on a Devin Bafia RBI single. With two outs and runners at the corners, Kobitz got Tyler Ellrich to fly out to center to end the inning.
“The nerves were going but I’ve been in this situation before, following (Jake) Post at Portage last year and getting saves there,” Kobitz said.
After a 1-2-3 sixth inning, Kobitz ran into trouble in the seventh. A single and two walks loaded the bases for Valparaiso, although Kobitz had registered two outs in between those batters. With Ellrich again the foe, Kobitz said he “Let it all go,” freezing Ellrich with an 0-2 fastball on the outside corner to end the game.
“The chances were there and we didn’t take advantage of it,” Valparaiso coach Dave Coyle said. “Give them credit; their pitchers did a nice job. We just didn’t hit when we had to hit.”
Chesterton had a 1-0 lead after one inning, thanks to a leadoff walk by Andrew Ralph and an RBI single from Austin Vander Zanden.
Tyler Sufana tripled and scored in the next inning to double that lead. With two outs, Michael Griffin walked and then scored the eventual game-winning run on a shallow popup from Ralph. The ball landed between three Valparaiso fielders, with Coyle blaming miscommunication between his fielders as the cause for the ball dropping.
A sacrifice fly from Rene Lozano scored Valparaiso’s first run in the fourth inning. The Vikings’ second run in the fifth was charged to Chesterton starter Matt Kubacki, who earned the save in last night’s game.
“Coming in to pitch in back-to-back games is sometimes hard for kids to do. He did a great job,” Campebll said of Kubacki.
Bafia pitched all six innings in his first start for Valparaiso, allowing three runs on four hits and four walks while striking out six.