Senior Babe Ruth Baseball: Porter County falls in regional semifinals
By Mike Clark Post-Tribune correspondent July 21, 2013 11:12PM
Porter County's Joe Ponda takes a moment after their loss to Fond Du Lac at Chesterton High School on Sunday July 17, 2013. | Jim Karczewski~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 23, 2013 6:35AM
CHESTERTON — Tyler Frye’s arm wasn’t hurting Sunday even after pitching 11-plus innings, believe it or not.
Adrenaline and Ibuprofen will do that.
“I don’t even feel it right now. It feels good,” Frye said after his marathon stint for the Porter County Storm Black in the Senior Babe Ruth (16-18) Ohio Valley Regional semifinals.
What did sting was the knowledge that the Storm’s playoff run was over after a 4-3, 12-inning loss to the Fond du Lac (Wis.) Blue Bombers at Chesterton High School.
Fond du Lac later beat Fern Creek (Ky.) 3-2 to win the regional and a trip to the Senior Babe Ruth World Series next month in Covington County, Ala.
In the day’s opener, Frye and Fond du Lac’s Hunter Schmitz hooked up in a classic pitchers’ duel.
Porter County took a 1-0 lead in the fourth when Matt Polito led off with a single, stole second, went to third on Garrett Walter’s base hit and scored on Ryan Seller’s sacrifice fly.
Fond du Lac’s Maustin Otterstatter hit the first pitch of the bottom of the sixth over the left-field fence for a game-tying homer and that was all the scoring till the 12th.
“Back and forth all game long,” Frye said of the teams’ battle. “They did their job and we just couldn’t finish it up.”
A couple of Fond du Lac errors and Polito’s RBI single helped the Storm open a 3-1 lead in the top of the 12th.
But the Blue Bombers tied it in the bottom of the inning, scoring on a wild pitch and Jacob Schneider’s RBI single. Schneider took second on the throw home. After Walter relieved Frye, a passed ball and throwing error brought Schneider around with the winning run and the walk-off win for Fond du Lac.
“It sucks but you can only look back at what you’ve done and be proud of it,” Frye said.
Since starting with one team in 2008, the Storm program has steadily gained traction. It won its first state title and regional berth in 2011, and a third team was added last summer.
Now the Storm has a top-four finish at the Ohio Valley Regional, which it hosted this year for the first time.
“I couldn’t be more proud of any team I’ve ever had,” said Nick Doud, the program’s founder and the Storm Black manager. “(That was) the best game I’ve ever been a part of. ...
“A lot of memories with this team, a lot of fun. A lot of 18-year-olds, so a lot of guys that won’t be back. That’s one of the reasons it makes it so hard.”
Polito went 2-for-6 for the Storm (24-8). Frye worked 111/3 innings, allowing 14 hits and just two walks while striking out three. The Storm had some defensive gems, including right fielder Seller throwing out a runner at third to end the third inning and first baseman Andrew Hall handling several tough throws.