For 8 2/3 innings
Wednesday, Chesterton played near flawless defense in its Duneland Athletic
Conference game with LaPorte.
It was the last 1/3
of an inning when it all came undone.
Travis Brooks committed errors on consecutive plays and center fielder
Andrew Ralph misjudged a Travis Upp drive into double, resulting in three
runs that all but handed the Slicers an 8-5 victory.
"The wheels fell
off," Chesterton coach Jack Campbell said. "Physical mistakes are part of
the game. They made them. We made them. Ours were just more crucial. Nobody
can point fingers. Everybody in the process of a game or season is going to
screw up in some way."
Ironically, it was
LaPorte (10-3, 2-2) whose defense was sub-par up to that point, committing
five errors. Its miscues just didn't prove to be as costly.
"We haven't played
well defensively all year," Slicers coach Scott Upp said. "We're doing it
ugly. It was good to see us swing the bats at least."
1-3) took a first-inning lead on Tyler Sufana's RBI single that scored Corey
Rusboldt, who was relegated to designated hitter duties by a sore arm. A
dropped ball on a play at the plate and a Cameron O'Brien single put the
Trojans up 3-1 in the third, an edge that held up until the fifth inning.
Brandon Roeske struck out eight, allowing only three hits and a run through
four frames, but ran into trouble when a walk, hit batter and single loaded
the bases with two outs. He went to a full count on Matt Prinz, who drove a
bases-clearing single into right center to put the Slicers in front 4-3.
"It's been like
that for him in a couple ball games," Campbell said of Roeske. "One big hit
and now he's behind. When he's pitching that well, you try to go back and
look at the pitch, to see if he's losing it at some point."
The teams traded
runs in the sixth with Matt Kubacki doubling in Brooks to make it 5-4.
Chesterton pulled even when Roeske doubled home Rusboldt with one out in the
seventh. The game went to extra innings after pinch-runner Dallas Milligan
was doubled off of second base on a Cole Teal line drive to first.
"We've been pretty
good at coming back in games, where we've dug a hole early and gotten
behind," Campbell said. "For the most part, we've hit pretty well.
Sometimes, it's time and score, when we're getting (the hits)."
Teal was saddled
with the undeserved loss, the victim of the unearned runs in the ninth.
"The bottom line is
put the ball in play," Upp said. "Make good, solid contact. You can only
control what you can. If they make a great play, tip your cap. You did your
worked two scoreless innings in relief of Jake Teets to earn the win for
3-for-5 with three runs, while Ralph and Sufana added two hits apiece for
Chesterton, which lost its fourth game in a row.
"Baseball's a game
of failure," Campbell said. "It's how you deal with it."