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Tony Schneider returns to give Schererville a boost at Senior Babe Ruth tournament

Updated: August 15, 2013 7:07AM



CROWN POINT — There have been tough times for Crown Point 20 this summer.

And there have also been good times, such as Saturday night.

Jake Kocher pitched a six-hitter as Crown Point blanked the Hammond Hurricanes Purple 4-0 in the winners’ bracket final of the Senior Babe Ruth (16-18) Northern Indiana state tournament at Teagle Field.

Post 20 needs one win in two games Monday to win the state title and an automatic berth in the Ohio Valley Regional, which starts Thursday at Chesterton High School.

The Hurricanes play in the losers’ bracket final at 2:30 p.m. Sunday against the winner of the day’s first game, a noon contest between the

Schererville Indians and the Crown Point-based Northwest Indiana Rippers.

Crown Point’s win over the Hurricanes avenged a five-inning loss in the teams’ last meeting.

“Before the game, I was getting mentally tough,” Kocher said. “I knew we lost to this team 10-0 (earlier).”

So did Crown Point manager T.J. Pruzin.

“The last time we played them ... mentally we weren’t ready to play baseball,” Pruzin said. “I don’t know if it’s the state tournament or what, but we’re ready to play baseball (now).”

Kocher definitely was. He struck out five and walked two, as Hammond got just three runners past second base.

Besides being able to locate his fastball effectively, he said, his “curveball seemed like it was biting a lot.”

Kocher got all the runs he needed in the first inning when Mitchell Kooi doubled home Glenn Hecht and Logan Grapenthien scored on a wild pitch. Post 20 added an unearned run in the third and Kooi singled in Hecht in the fifth.

Schererville bounced back from Friday’s extra-inning loss to Hammond by eliminating Kokomo 12-4 behind a big day from Tony Schneider.

Schneider — back in the lineup after missing almost a month with torn tendons and ligaments in his left hand — was 2-for-4 with two doubles, a walk, a run and four RBIs.

“It was tough,” Schneider said of the layoff. “I’m glad to be back.

(I’m) good enough to play, that’s all I needed.”

“To get him back in the lineup was big,” Schererville manager Todd Scheub said of the No. 3 hitter and first baseman.

Timmy Tellas, Christian Sullivan and Ryan Einterz added two hits each for the Indians and Rory Gard went the distance for the win.

Meanwhile, the LaPorte Lakers’ bid for a second straight Northern Indiana title officially ended when the Lakers did not show up for a losers’ bracket game against the Rippers. That gave the Rippers — who eliminated Logansport 3-0 in the first game of the day — a forfeit win.

The Lakers also lost Friday’s winners’ bracket semifinal to Crown Point 20 on a forfeit after a game-ending altercation.



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