Crown Point remains undefeated in Cal Ripken World Series
By ANTHONY NASELLA Post-Tribune correspondent August 12, 2013 9:50PM
Updated: September 14, 2013 6:24AM
HAMMOND — For four innings of Monday’s Cal Ripken Major/60 World Series contest against the Honolulu Saints, Crown Point was in full control as Nick Geisen’s pitching and the team’s offense were once again a force.
But a series of walks in the fifth inning by Crown Point, which deadlocked the game, was threatening to force extra innings.
Crown Point rebounded in the bottom of the fifth, breaking a 5-5 tie with three runs and remained undefeated in the World Series with a 8-5 victory at the Hammond Optimist Youth Sports Complex.
Geisen snagged another player of the game honor, striking out 10 batters in four innings while also slugging a first-inning home run. Crown Point has a 5:30 p.m. pool play contest remaining on Tuesday against Lexington, Ky.
“Walks do kill,” Crown Point coach Bob Bauner said. “But we came back with the bats. We hit the ball pretty well, and that’s what saved us. In a game like this, every run is important. Our offense continues to be solid. Nick, again, was solid on the mound.”
After Crown Point issued three walks in the fifth, all which scored, the team benefited by a hit-by-pitch and error that plated the go-ahead run. A big two-run hit by Kyle Bauner plated huge insurance runs for his team.
“I was nervous, but I was trying to get a hit,” Kyle Bauner said. “We just had to stay confident.”
Geisen struck out two batters in the first inning, three in the second, two in the third, and three in the fourth. Marek Bauner relieved Geisen in the fifth and was relieved by Logan Ryan after walking the first two batters of the fifth. Ryan closed the door on the Saints in the sixth with two strikeouts.
“In the fifth, I just told the kids to just keep doing what they’ve been doing,” Bob Bauner said. “It’s not the first time we’ve been down. We just kept coming back on batter at a time. That’s all it takes.”
Marek Bauner led off the bottom of the first inning with a home-run to center field, and Geisen followed that with an even deeper home run to center field. Kenny Michael’s RBI single later in the inning extended the Bulldogs lead to 3-0.
Bauner recorded a sacrifice RBI with the bases loaded in the second with two outs, but Saints starting pitcher Richie Vidal struck out Geisen with runners on the first and second to close out the inning.
In the nightcap, Hammond fell short against Opp, Ala., 4-1. The Bulldogs collected six hits, but they stranded eight runners and were unable to solve Opp starting pitcher Kody Richburg, who struck out eight Hammond batters in a complete-game effort.
Opp struck first in the top of the first with a run, and Hammond responded with its run in the bottom of the first. Opp then scored one run in the second and two in the fourth. The Bulldogs loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth but failed to plate a run.
Rigo Martinez’s RBI double was the offensive highlight for Hammond, which will play an 8 p.m. pool-play contest tonight against East Boise, Idaho.
“We ran into a great pitcher tonight,” Hammond Coach Tom McDermott said. “Our team doesn’t see lefties very often, and he was throwing a lot of curve balls tonight. We stranded our share of base runners.
“But if you told me that we would be 2-1 in the World Series after three games, I would have told that’s awesome. We’re very happy where we’re at after three games.”