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Missed Opportunities Cost Slicers in 7-3 Loss to Valpo

For the second day in a row, a lack of timely hitting cost the Slicer baseball team vs Valparaiso. Tuesday LP had seven hits compared to one bunt single for the Vikings only to fall 1-0. Wednesday, at Schreiber Field, LaPorte out hit the Vikes eight to seven but left 10 men on base falling 7-3.


Valparaiso took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Slicer starter Grant Olson hit leadoff man Trent Gill with a pitch. Nate Brumfield chopped an infield single down the third base line and Caden Crowel drew a walk to load the bases with no one out. Max Reaume hit a deep fly to center field. Kai Jones made a nice running catch, but Gill tagged and scored easily. Olson got Miles Cvelbar to hit into a 6-4-3 double play to avoid any more damage.


LP tied it up in the bottom of the first. Ben Dubbs reached on a throwing error by shortstop DJ Malloy. Kade Flores bunted Dubbs to second and RJ Anglin singled up the middle for an RBI. After a Drew Catron fly out, Anglin strayed too far from first and was picked off first when Valpo catcher Reaume threw behind him to end the first with the score 1-1.


Valpo scored again in the third. Gill drew a leadoff walk, stole second and scored on a Crowell single to make it 2-1 Vikings. La Porte tied it up in the bottom of the inning. Kai Jones reached on a throwing error, stole second then went to third on a balk by Viking starter Jimmie Shifflett. He scored on a Dubbs RBI ground out to second. Flores drew a walk and stole second but was stranded there when Anglin was called out on strikes. It was 2-2 after three innings.


Both teams again scored single runs in the fourth. Cvelbar drew a leadoff walk. Ian Wilson bunted him to second. Cvelbar scored on a ground rule double by Kaden Matthews. The Slicers did pick up the tying run in the bottom of the inning but let a potential huge inning slip away. Catron smacked a solid single to center. Tommy Samuelson rolled a single through the right side of the infield putting Slicers on first and second with no outs. Carter Moses laid down what was supposed to be a sacrifice bunt. Shifflett slipped trying to field the ball and Moses had a bunt single. With no outs and the bases loaded Jax Land hit a soft liner that landed in front of second baseman Gill. He threw to plate forcing Catron. Keli Hay beat out a slow roller to second to drive in a run and keep the bases loaded. A Jones strike out and Dubbs ground out ended the fourth with the score tied 3-3.


Valpo broke the game open in the fifth, sending nine hitters to the plate and scoring four times. Gill started the inning with what looked like a harmless popup to the mound. Pitcher Olson and third baseman Catron were in the area but miscommunicated and the ball fell untouched on the mound for a base hit. Brumfield ripped a double to left putting runners at second and third. Crowell blooped a single into right to score Gill. Reaume walked to reload the bases. La Porte pulled in the infield and Brumfield scored on a grounder by Cvelbar that moved the shortstop Flores to his left. Flores knocked the ball down but was unable to get the force at the plate making it 5-3. Two RBI sacrifice flies later it was 7-3. Samuelson came into relieve Olson and got the final out. 


The Slicers looked they might counter with a big inning of their own in the bottom of the fifith. The first two hitters, Flores, a single, and Anglin, a walk, reached base. Catron hit into a 4-6 force out and Samuelson hit into a double play to end the inning.


Samuelson retired six of seven hitters in the sixth and seventh, allowing no runs and only one hit. In the La Porte sixth Land was hit by a pitch with one out and Jones drew a two out walk. LP loaded the bases on an infield hit by Dubbs. Flores grounded out to end the inning. In the seventh, Samuelson reached on a two out error but the game ended on a Land line drive to right that was snagged by Matthews giving Valpo the 7-3 victory.


The Slicers had runners on base in every inning. They hit into two double plays and had a runner picked off. They loaded the bases in the fourth with no one out and scored just once. The first two Slicer hitters reached base in the fifth and didn’t score. They also had the bases loaded in the sixth and came up empty. 


Olson pitched 4 2/3 innings giving up seven runs on seven hits. He struck out four, walked three and hit one. Samuelson finished up pitching 2 1/3 innings of one hit ball, striking out two.


Samuelson was named the Salisbury and Spence Edward Jones Player of the Game. Beside his solid relief pitching, the 6’5 senior was the only Slicer with multiple hits going two for four. 


Coach Scott Upp shuffled his lineup for this one trying to get as many bats into the lineup as possible. Anglin was the DH after pitching on Tuesday. Normal DH Land played first and regular first baseman Samuelson patrolled left field before coming in to pitch. Six Slicers besides Samuelson had hits. Ryan Bruemmer who has been out for a couple of weeks with a hamstring injury played left field when Samuelson came in to pitch.


The Slicers fall to 16-9 on the season. They finish third in the DAC at 9-5. Lake Central was a perfect 14-0 and Valpo 11-3. La Porte finishes their regular season with a 6:30 home game vs Kankakee Valley on Friday night. 


Sectional play starts at Plymouth on Wednesday. The Slicers will face South Bend Adams at 5:30 central time. The winner will play Plymouth on Saturday after the Mishawaka/Michigan City semifinal game.  The Championship game will be played Memorial Day with the winner advancing to the June 3rd La Porte Regional.

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