Baseball: Crown Point runs past Portage
By LaMond Pope firstname.lastname@example.org/@lamondpope April 25, 2013 9:58PM
Crown Point left hander Ron Plesac eyes the plate while pitching against Portage Thursday April 25, 2013. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 29, 2013 7:21AM
CROWN POINT — It wasn’t a conventional way to get a run home.
But Crown Point will take it.
The Bulldogs scored on a wacky sequence in the bottom of the seventh to defeat Portage 4-3 Thursday.
Crown Point placed runners on the corners with no outs in the seventh. Johnny Lynk flew out to center field. Pinch runner Jack Vinovich, who was running with the pitch, sprinted back to first base to avoid a double play. He beat the throw.
At around the same time as the ball was heading to first, pinch runner Chris Dietrich took off from third to home and scored to give the Bulldogs the victory.
“It was a nice play by both of them to regroup and hustle back to first base and beat the tag,” Crown Point coach Steve Strayer said. “It was a gutsy play.”
The wild play capped a game that featured strong pitching.
Kevin Jones pitched into the seventh inning for Portage and struck out eight batters.
“He battled and really shut down one of the best teams in the state,” Portage coach Tim Pirowski said. “We had many opportunities to win the game with runners in scoring position, we just couldn’t get that one extra hit that we needed.”
Ronnie Plesac went five innings for Crown Point. He also had eight strikeouts. Zach Plesac pitched the final two innings and got the victory.
“I knew they were a real good hitting team,” Ronnie Plesac said. “I wanted to give them something to let my fielders work with. I knew they had my back.”
Crown Point scored its first run without the benefit of a hit.
The Bulldogs loaded the bases with three walks in the first inning, one of which was intentional. With two outs, Lynk drew a walk. Alex Nickla scored, giving Crown Point the 1-0 lead.
The Bulldogs tacked on two more runs in the second inning. Jake Jatis knocked in Glenn Hecht with a sacrifice fly to right field. Tyler Downing later scored on the tail end of a double steal, stretching Crown Point’s lead to 3-0.
“When you see a really good pitcher (in Jones), you have to be able to do those things to be able to compete,” Strayer said.
Portage cut the deficit to 3-1 with a run in the fourth. Jacob Bearss singled and moved to third on a double to right field by Peter Psomadelis. The Indians then executed a perfect safety squeeze. Sam Schest placed down the bunt and Bearss scored.
Portage tied the game with two runs in the fifth inning. Eric Mesarch drove in a run with a single. He later scored on a sacrifice fly by Jones.
Both teams placed runners at third base in the sixth, but failed to score.
Ronnie Plesac began the seventh with a double. He was then lifted for the pinch runner, and then watched the crazy ending unfold.
“It was just a fluke thing,” Plesac said. “It was sweet.”