Lowell wins, Valpo falls at Junior League state tournament
By Dave Melton Post-Tribune correspondent July 27, 2013 11:24PM
Updated: August 30, 2013 6:49AM
PORTAGE — It was a reversal of fortunes for the two local entries in the Junior League baseball tournament on Friday night.
Lowell rebounded from a loss on Friday by unleashing an offensive fury on Wabash, racking up 13 runs on 11 hits en route to a 13-3 victory in six innings.
“In every facet of the game, we did well today. We pitched, we caught and we hit,” said Lowell head coach Dan Kijurna.
Three runs crossed home plate in the first and third innings for Lowell, which led 6-1 after three innings and never looked back.
No. 2 hitter Trevor Espravnik and No. 3 hitter Alex Howard were the most lethal bats in the Lowell lineup, with each player contributing three hits and three runs scored.
“It was real important for us (to get hits) because (leadoff hitter) Darren Hopkins always gets hits and we have to drive him in,” said Espravnik, who was a home run short of the cycle. “Yesterday we started off real well but then we slowed down at the end. Today, we were facing elimination, so we had a lot more motivation.”
Valparaiso, meanwhile, suffered its first loss of the double-elimination tournament, falling 18-4 to Bedford, the lone undefeated team remaining in the tournament.
Before the game, Valparaiso head coach Tony Klobucar said that he wanted his team to, “play better defense than we did yesterday. If we can minimize the mental errors, that’ll be better for our pitchers.”
Unfortunately, that gameplan did not materialize, as a few errors — coupled with a relentless Bedford offense — had Valparaiso trailing 13-3 by the bottom of the third.
After being shutout in the first, Bedford exploded for seven runs in the second inning. Valparaiso responded with three in the bottom of the second, thanks to a rally ignited by back-to-back singles from Eric Klobucar and Trace Ramsey.
But Bedford would add six more runs in the third inning, putting the game firmly out of Valparaiso’s reach.
The tournament continues Sunday, with Lowell facing Franklin Township at 2 p.m. The winner of that game will face Valparaiso at 6 p.m.