Youth baseball: Five-run sixth propels Valpo in junior state tourney
By Dave Melton Post-Tribune correspondent July 26, 2013 11:34PM
Updated: August 28, 2013 6:18AM
PORTAGE — Valparaiso kept the game to seven innings on Friday night, but still crammed in plenty of drama during play in the Junior League baseball tournament.
After beating Wabash in 11 innings in the earliest hours of Friday morning, Valparaiso topped Baugo 10-9 in a similarly thrilling fashion.
“We’re deep in pitching, so that keeps us in the game,” head coach Tony Klobucar said. “So far in this tournament, we’ve been getting our runs in the sixth and seventh innings.”
Baugo, a township near Elkhart, led Valparaiso 8-5 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning. But a leadoff walk to Adrian Casaday turned into five Valparaiso runs. Derek Lasky scored two with his double, Eric Klobucar tied the game at eight with another double, scoring Lasky. Three batters later, with two outs, Kyle Zellers broke the deadlock with yet another double, scoring a pair.
“We were really confident (at the start of the inning). We’d done the same thing last night, so we knew we could do it again,” said Lasky, who also earned the save after pitching out of a tight jam in the seventh.
Earlier in the day, Lowell was defeated by Bedford, 11-3.
Bedford posted runs in each of the first three innings, but Lowell kept pace with its opponent by scoring one run each in the second, third and fourth innings. Trevor Espravnik, Austin Giordano and Nick Slavis each crossed home plate for Lowell.
“We got some key hits early on,” said Lowell head coach Dan Kijurna. “For whatever reason, though, our offense stalled late in the game. We’d get a base runner but we just couldn’t get the key hit.”
In the bottom of the fourth, Bedford — the team Kijurna believes is the best team in the tournament — broke the game open with a three-run rally. Lowell was unable to muster any response in the top half of the fifth and sixth innings, and then Bedford put the game out of reach with five more runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Each team plays again Saturday in the double elimination format, with Lowell playing at 5 p.m. and Valparaiso starting at 8 p.m.