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Ryden's Arm and Flores' Glove Lead Slicers to 1-0 Over KV

Sophomore Cody Ryden tossed an efficient two hit shutout and shortstop Kade Flores made three outstanding defensive plays as LP held off Kankakee Valley 1-0 in the 2023 regular season finale.


Ryden struck out just one hitter, but allowed the Kougars only three baserunners; one hit batsman and a pair of two out singles in the fourth. La Porte played errorless defense behind him with Kade Flores taking away three potential Kougar hits. 


With one out in the third Flores snagged a ground ball that looked like a sure hit up the middle. He made a solid throw, from an odd angle, to retire KV’s Tyler Smolek. In the fourth, he ranged deep into the hole, unleashed a perfect throw and nipped Colton Pribyl for the second out of the inning. The next two Kankakee Valley hitters got base hits making the play even more important. Then, in the top of the sixth, he robbed Luke Richie with a perfectly timed leap and catch. 


Offensively the Slicers continued to scuffle. LP scored the game’s only run in the bottom of the first inning. Ben Dubbs and Flores drew walks to lead off the inning. With runners on first and second RJ Anglin smashed a liner that looked like an extra base hit. KV right fielder Dylan Holmes made a running, leaping catch to rob Anglin. Dubbs was able to advance to third on the play. Drew Catron knocked Dubbs in with a sacrifice fly to center. Holmes ended the inning with a diving catch on Tommy Samuelson’s blooper to right.


The Slicers had just one hit in the game, an infield hit by Keli Hay, but had several scoring opportunities due to seven walks and a hit batsman by Kougar starter Spencer Childers. 


In the second inning Carter Moses drew a leadoff walk. Courtesy runner Drew Flores was picked off by the left handed Childers. Hay got his infield hit and Ryan Bruemmer was clipped by a pitch. Both runners advanced on a double steal putting runners on second and third with one out. Childers was able to strike out Kai Jones and get Dubbs to fly to center to end the inning. 


In the third, Kade Flores led off with a walk and advanced to third on a steal of second and a passed ball. Childers retired the next three hitters and LP came up empty. The Slicers also had runners at second and third with one out in the bottom of the sixth. A strike out and fly out to center to stranded the base runners.


Ryden was named the Salisbury and Spence Edward Jones Player of the Game. Centerfielder, Ryan Bruemmer, got his first start since straining his hamstring three weeks ago. He reached twice and stole a base. He also made a nice running catch in deep center in the sixth.


La Porte finishes the regular season with a 17-9 record. They finished third in the DAC at 9-5. 


Sectional play begins Wednesday when the Slicers face South Bend Adams at 5:30 central time. The winner will face Plymouth in the second semifinal game on Saturday scheduled at 12:30. This game follows the 10 am Mishawaka/Michigan City game. Saturday’s winners play Memorial Day at 5:00 PM for the championship.

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