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Baseball: Munster’s two-strike hitting highlights dominant win over Hanover Central

Munster's Alex Cocciis forced out second but KevO'Brien is able bethrow 1st avoiding double play Hanover Central High School Saturday

Munster's Alex Coccia is forced out at second but Kevin O'Brien is able to beat the throw to 1st avoiding the double play at Hanover Central High School on Saturday April 27, 2013. | Jim Karczewski~for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: May 30, 2013 2:58PM



CEDAR LAKE — The casual observer of Saturday’s Munster-Hanover Central baseball game saw the final tally on the scoreboard read 13-3 in favor of the visiting Mustangs.

But Munster (10-5) coach Bob Shinkan said the secret to the victory was not just measured in the volume of hits and runs scored by his team in the five-inning affair.

“The two-strike hitting that happened today was the best I’ve seen all season,” Shinkan said. “The majority of our hits came after two strikes, and I was pleased with the concentration the kids demonstrated at the plate. We ran the bases well, and we took advantage of the opportunities when we had runners in scoring position.”

To be sure, Munster had plenty of opportunities to score — and the team capitalized by scoring at least one run in each inning. The Mustangs jumped out to a 2-0 advantage on an Alex Delrio two-run home run to deep center field in the top of the first before the Wildcats responded with two in the bottom of the first.

But the Mustangs offense exploded with 10 runs in the next three innings, scoring three in the second, four in third, and three in the fourth.

On the mound, Matt Enger earned the win with three innings and Sam Bell closed out the final two innings.

“I was real happy with the offensive and defensive performance we had,” Shinkan said. “Hanover Central is an excellent program. Even though this is cross-conference, I told my kids this program is one of the better teams in the area. This was a big win for us.

Hanover Central coach Doug Nelson said his team will ultimately benefit by playing against Class 4A teams like Munster.

“We usually don’t see a breaking ball like their second pitcher (Bell) was throwing,” he said, “Despite the loss, this was a good learning experience for us.”



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