Crown Point 20 building new tradition
By MIKE CLARK Post-Tribune correspondent July 16, 2013 12:02AM
Crown Point's winning pitcher Jeremy Swart (right) gets mobbed by teammates after beating Schererville in the Babe Ruth 16-18 state baseball tournament championship game in Crown Point, In., on Monday, July 15, 2013. | John Smierciak~for Sun-Times Media ORG XMIT: cpbaberuth-PTB-071613-14
Updated: August 17, 2013 6:40AM
CROWN POINT — The faces have changed and so has the affiliation, but the home team is still playing winning baseball at Teagle Field.
With American Legion baseball in decline in Northwest Indiana, Crown Point Post 20 decided during the offseason to turn over its field to the Crown Point Babe Ruth League. That organization honored the past by creating a Senior Babe Ruth (16-18) team named Crown Point 20.
There were some bumps in the road along the way, but they were forgotten Monday night when Crown Point 20 edged the Schererville Indians 1-0 at Teagle Field to win the Northern Indiana state title.
Jeremy Swart took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and finished with a two-hitter for Crown Point, which advances to the Ohio Valley Regional beginning Thursday at Chesterton High School. Schererville and the host Porter County Storm Black also will represent the area in the 12-team regional field.
For Crown Point manager T.J. Pruzin, this team’s run is stirring some echoes.
“I was a Post 20 player myself,” he said. “We hosted the first Post 20 state tournament my senior year (in 2000).
“This field has a lot of good memories for myself going back to when I played. It’s good for this field not to go to waste.”
Swart, who created a few more good memories for Pruzin on Monday, is a relative newcomer. He transferred to Crown Point High School from Crawfordsville last October and is feeling right at home now.
“It’s a big school,” he said. “There’s a lot more competition for spots and that’s good for a baseball player.”
Swart has only helped his case for a varsity roster spot next spring with his state tourney play. He pitched two-hit ball with 11 strikeouts and one walk over five innings in a 10-0 win over South Bend Clay on Thursday and then came back with his two-hitter Monday.
“I didn’t start out too well,” he said. “I walked too many guys (three in the first two innings). In the third inning, I came out and I was in my groove.”
Schererville’s baserunning problems helped Swart get past that rough start. The Indians — who beat Crown Point 20 9-0 in district play — had one runner picked off and another doubled off on a flyout to end the first inning.
“That set the tone for the game,” Schererville manager Todd Scheub said. “It’s frustrating because they played so well (Sunday) and we came out with no emotion (Monday).”
But starting pitcher Christian Sullivan kept the Indians in the game.
He gave up a run on Glenn Hecht’s one-out double, two walks and Freddy Newman’s RBI groundout in the bottom of the first, but that was all the scoring for either team all night.
“Their guy was sweating through his shirt in the second inning,”
Pruzin said. “He pitched an awesome game, too. ... He was dealing, our guy was dealing. We were glad to get out of this. We didn’t want to play another game in this heat.”