Crown Point tops Hammond to reach Cal Ripken title game
By Anthony Nasella Post-Tribune correspondent August 15, 2013 11:38PM
Updated: September 17, 2013 8:27AM
HAMMOND — Crown Point’s Nick Geisen was faced with a challenge that every pitcher dreams of and dreads at the same time — a bases-loaded scenario in the final inning in a one-run game with two outs.
Geisen delivered under pressure in that situation during Thursday night’s semifinal against Hammond Optimist at the Cal Ripken Major/60 World Series. He got one of the Bulldogs’ most lethal hitters, Randall Perrin, to ground out for the final out and a thrilling 4-3 victory at the Hammond Optimist Youth Sports Complex on Thursday.
The northern state champs will play at 7 p.m. Friday for the World Series championship against Kingsbridge (Bronx), N.Y., which defeated South Lexington, Ky., 7-3 in the other semifinal.
Geisen, who relieved starter Logan Ryan, struck out eight of the 13 batters he faced. Ryan struck out seven batters in three innings. Perrin, who started for Hammond, was masterful, striking out 17 batters in a six-inning effort.
“I was super nervous,” Geisen said. “I couldn’t even catch my breath. I was thankful that he (Perrin) hit the ball to me, but then I knew I had to get the out. We’ve been dreaming for this for five years, and now it’s come true.”
Crown Point broke a 3-3 tie in a bizarre turn of events. Geisen singled with Jake Schalasky on second, and a throwing error sailed into left field, allowing Schalasky to score.
“There’s not much you can say about Nick,” Crown Point coach Bob Bauner said. “You can’t ask for any more than what he’s given us. Hammond played such a great game. That was a tough one to lose for either team, but these kids did amazing.
“Sometimes it’s long ball, and sometime it’s small ball. But these kids played great ball tonight.”
CP’s Marek Bauner led off the game with a single and advanced around the horn on three passed balls for an early 1-0 lead.
Hammond scored two in the bottom of the first — the first on a wild pitch and the second on an RBI double by Daniel Villareal. Ryan struck out three, but he also issued three walks in a 35-pitch inning.
The Bulldogs extended their lead to 3-1 in the second on a passed ball, as Ryan labored with another 25 pitches. Ryan, however, started to find his stride in the third — striking out the side on 16 pitches.
Crown Point rallied in the top of the fourth to tie the game at 3-3, scoring its runs on a wild pitch and passed ball. Geisen relieved Ryan in the fourth, and he struck out three batters — the final one with runners on second and third. Geisen also struck three batters in the fifth.