Seven shutout innings weren't enough to earn Jake Post and Chesterton a win
in Saturday's Class 4A Merrillville Sectional semifinals.
And eight would've only gotten them both a chance to play a ninth.
As good as Post was, Crown Point sophomore lefty Ron Plesac was even better,
tossing eight frames of scoreless, four-hit ball to outduel his junior
counterpart and the Trojans 3-0 on the strength of a Jose Andrade
tie-breaking home run in extra innings.
"Heck of a ball game, wasn't it?" Chesterton coach Jack Campbell said. "It
was one of those you hate to have anybody lose. We had opportunities in the
game to score runs and didn't do it. They had opportunities, too. Good
pitching stops good hitting and Plesac was really outstanding."
The outcome was decided on one swing of the bat in the C.P. eighth, a swing
that Campbell considered not letting Andrade take, though he had struck out
twice against Post previously.
"The last words I said to the coaching staff were, 'Should we put him on?'"
Campbell said. "I'd just gotten the words out of my mouth."
Consecutive singles started the Bulldogs at-bat, but Post recorded his 11th
strikeout to keep them at first and second with one out. After a passed ball
advanced the runners, the infield was forced to pull in. But Andrade made
that a moot point, ending Post's outing by driving a fastball over the fence
in right-center field.
"Ball State, IU and Michigan were all here to see Jake," Campbell said.
"Some kids would be like, 'Oh, my goodness,' but he pitched fantastic. I
couldn't be happier for him."
Post struck out the side to strand a runner at third in the second inning.
In the fourth, C.P. (18-11) put runners on the corners with one out, but
Post buckled down again to keep the Bulldogs off the board.
Plesac, however, matched him every step of the way and then some. Catcher
Austin Cooley, able to return as a designated hitter following a medial
colateral ligament injury, doubled with one out in the Chesterton second and
advanced on a wild pitch, but Plesac fanned the next two batters. Post
doubled to start the third, only to get picked off. A walk and a Justin
Jenks bunt single followed, but Scott Homner grounded into a double play.
The only threat the Trojans mounted from there was a modest one, Homner
singling and stealing second on a pickoff attempt in the sixth.
"Scoring runs, in some games, was a problem," Campbell said. "But we came
back and scored four runs in two-thirds of an inning (Friday against
Michigan City), so who knows? That's the way the game was."
C.P. looked like it was going to scratch out a run in the seventh, but left
fielder Nate Majcher was in the right spot backing up on an errant throw and
pegged a strike home to cut down Brett Bayer.
"We made some big plays," Campbell said. "For the most part, our pitching
and defense was outstanding,"
Crown Point met Portage, a 15-7 semifinal winner over Valparaiso, in
Monday's final. Chesterton finished 16-10.
"We had an outstanding season," Campbell said.
Crown Point 3,
SCORING BY INNINGS
Crown Point 000 000 03 -- 3 7 1
Chesterton 000 000 00 -- 0 4 4
2B -- Austin Cooley, Jake Post (C). HR -- Jose Andrade (CP). Pitching
summary -- Crown Point -- Ron Plesac (8 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 11 SO); Chesterton --
Post (7.1 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 11 SO), Booby Humphreys (0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 1 SO).
WP -- Plesac. LP -- Post