Crown Point rallies to win Cal Ripken Series title
By Anthony Nasella Post-Tribune correspondent August 16, 2013 11:22PM
Nick Geisen, of the Crown Point Bulldogs, scores on a Kings Bridge NY Knights wild pitch for the Cal Ripken World Series Championship, Friday, August 16th, 2013, in Hammond, IN. | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 18, 2013 6:13AM
HAMMOND — Crown Point’s early three-run deficit against Kingsbridge, N.Y., in Friday night’s championship game of the Cal Ripken Major/60 World Series was nothing new to the team and head coach Bob Bauner.
And just as Crown Point, again and again, executed with its back against the wall during the season, the team did it again in dramatic fashion against Kingsbridge. Crown Point scored two runs in the fourth inning and the go-ahead run in the sixth to hold on for a thrilling 5-4 victory at the Hammond Optimist Youth Sports Complex.
“It’s been this way the whole season and the whole five years we’ve been together,” Bauner said. “The ability to never quit and never give up has been ingrained in this team. When we practice, we practice every aspect of the game. I’m just glad that it sunk in.
“How could it end any better than this? It just can’t.”
Marek Bauner drilled an opposite-field double to lead off the sixth and scored on a passed ball to give Crown Point its first lead of the night. CP held on even as Kingsbridge threatened in the bottom of the sixth, putting a runner on second base.
Kingsbridge’s Sammy De la Cruz launched a shot into deep right field off relief pitcher Nick Geisen with two outs, but Crown Point’s Luke Bianco snagged the ball at the wall for the final out.
“I really thought I dropped the ball,” Bianco admitted. “I really thought I was going to drop it.”
The player of the game for Crown Point, Logan Ryan, struck out eight Kingsbridge batters and kept the game close enough for Nick Geisen, who pitched shutout ball for the final three innings. Ryan also delivered a big two-run single in the fourth to tie the game at 4-4.
“I can’t even talk right now,” an overwhelmed Ryan said.
Kingsbridge drew first blood on a three-run home deep to right field off Ryan by George Valera. Ryan, however, rebounded after the homer, striking out three of the next four batters to close out the inning.
Crown Point cut the deficit to 3-1 in the second inning, as Alec Matalin scored on a wild pitch with two outs that advanced runners to second and third — but Crown Point was unable to score either runner.
Crown Point pulled within 3-2 on a passed ball in the third but stranded runners on second and third for the second straight inning as Candelario struck out the final Crown Point batters. Valera then clubbed a home run to deep center field in the third to extend Kingsbridge’s lead to 4-2.
Ryan tied the game with the two-run single to right field, as Crown Point capitalized on two walks and three wild pitches by Candelario. Crown Point threatened in the fifth, advancing runners to second and third via a Kingsbridge error but was unable to plate either runner.
Kingsbridge loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth with one out on a double and two walks by Geisen, but Ryan threw out the potential go-ahead run for the second out. Geisen struck out the next batter for the third out.
“We kept our composure all game,” Geisen said.