Baseball: Crown Point jumps to early lead, tops Merrillville
CROWN POINT — Using the same game plan that worked against Crown Point 24 hours before proved to be a winning formula for the Bulldogs in their Duneland Conference win against Merrillville on Wednesday. That formula: get off to a good start.
The Bulldogs scored four times in the first inning and leaned on 62/3 innings of solid pitching by Jake Kocher in a 6-3 win over the Pirates.
The win helps put Tuesday’s loss to Chesterton in the rear view mirror for the Bulldogs after the Trojans batted around to score five runs in the first inning on the way to a 10-8 win.
Wednesday it was the Bulldogs who jumped out to a 4-0 lead after one inning thanks to nine batters coming to the plate with Ronnie Plesac and Bobby Morgan driving in runs.
“When you give up four runs early, you know Crown Point doesn’t give us many runs so you know your work is cut out for you,” Merrillville coach Mark Schellinger said. “You can’t walk off the bus and be down 4-0.”
Kocher pitched a gem until tiring in the seventh inning, giving up five hits for the game, while striking our six.
“This was important because of that loss to Chesterton yesterday,” Kocher said. “This game showed we can bounce back from anything.”
Merrillville almost did the same in the seventh inning when the Pirates loaded the bases with two out. Matthew Warren walked to drive in one run but Jake Jenks came in to end the threat and the game for Crown Point.
Jose Carbajal and Joseph Cowser drove in the other two Pirates runs.
“I like what Jake has to offer,” Crown Point coach Steve Strayer said about his starting pitcher. “He has decent velocity and a nice breaking ball. If he can locate those pitches and be more sharp, he has a bright future for us.”
Zac and Ronnie Plesac each had two hits and an RBI for the Bulldogs, while Alex Nickla had two doubles and an RBI.