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Slicers are Sectional Champs after Defeating Mishawaka

(Plymouth, IN) - The 2023 La Porte Slicer baseball team hasn’t done anything the easy way the entire season. Monday’s sectional championship game versus Mishawaka at Plymouth was no different. La Porte rode the strong right arm of RJ Anglin and overcame five frustrating innings offensively before eliminating Mishawaka 3-0 for the program’s 37th sectional title.


The game was a scoreless pitcher’s duel for the first five and a half innings with each team failing to capitalize on scoring opportunities. Anglin retired the Cavemen in order in three of seven innings while the Slicers had baserunners every inning.


La Porte was the home team. In the top of the first, Anglin gave up a two out single to Matt Peletier before retiring Mishawaka cleanup man, AJ Budd, to end the inning. In the bottom of the inning LP got a one out single from Kade Flores. Drew Catron worked the count full. Before the 3-2 pitch, Caveman starter Tommy Harringer picked Flores off first for the second out. Two pitches later, Catron laced a double that would have scored Flores to right center. Anglin grounded out to end the inning.


Anglin retired Mishawaka in order with two strikeouts in the second. Speedy Keli Hay reached on a throwing error but was unable to advance for La Porte in the bottom of the inning.


Mishawaka had their best scoring opportunity in the third. Anglin walked Mishawaka’s talented freshman catcher Kamden Putz to start the inning. Isaac Valdez bunted Putz’s courtesy runner Trey DeBroka to second. Anglin walked Maddux Yohe to put runners on first and second with one out. RJ then struck out Kaden Rose, Mishawaka’s leading hitter, for the second out. Peletier smashed a line drive to left that Kai Jones made a nice catch on to end the inning.


In the bottom of the third Ryan Bruemmer got a bad hop single to lead things off. Ben Dubbs’ sacrifice bunt attempt was caught in the air by third baseman Cooper Pritchett who doubled Bruemmer off first. Flores then singled and Catron walked before Anglin was retired on a look-what-I-found short hop ground out to second.


After Anglin retired, the side in order in the top of the fourth La Porte’s offensive frustrations continued. Tommy Samuelson and Hay singled to right to put runners on first and second with no outs. Jax Land got called out on strikes for the first out and Carter Moses drew a walk to load the bases. Bruemmer struck out and Dubbs flew out to left to end the inning leaving the bases full.


Anglin survived two Mishawaka hits in the fifth. The first a one out single by Putz. The second when Putz’s courtesy runner DeBroka was hit by a ground ball while running to second and was called out.  Flores drew a leadoff walk to start the bottom of the inning and was bunted to second by Catron. Angling was intentionally walked. With Samuelson at the plate, Harringer threw a wild pitch to move the runners to second and third. Mishawaka pulled their infield in and Samuelson hit a chopper to second. Caveman second baseman Shawn Nowicki’s throw to the plate was up the third base line. Catcher Putz made a diving catch and was able to tag Flores as he was trying to leap over him to score for the second out.  Hay hit a hard line drive right at Nowicki to end the inning.


La Porte left a total of seven runners on base in the third, fourth and fifth innings.

Anglin got three ground ball outs in a quick top of the sixth before the Slicers finally broke through with a two out rally. Land and Moses were both retired on line drives to start the inning. Land to right field and Moses to short. Bruemmer singled to left and stole second. Ben Dubbs walked and Flores reached on an error by the second baseman to load the bases. Then came the at bat of the year. Catron singled to left scoring both Bruemmer and Dubbs to give the Slicers a 2-0 lead and runners on first and second. For the second time Anglin was intentionally walked to load the bases. Yohe came in to pitch for Harringer and promptly threw a wild pitch that scored Flores. The catcher’s throw to Yohe covering home was wild and Catron tried to score from second but was out at the plate. It was 3-0 LP heading to the seventh.


In the Mishawaka seventh, Pritchett hit a deep drive to right center that was tracked down and caught by Bruemmer for out number one. Nowacki grounded out to Samuelson for the second out. Nothing comes easy for these Slicers. DH Payton Jones fisted a base hit just over the head of shortstop Flores and Putz walked bringing the tying run to the plate. Anglin struck out Valdez and the Slicer celebration was on.


Anglin, threw a four hit shutout, striking out seven and walking three and Catron who delivered the game winning hit were named the the Salisbury and Spence Edward Jones Players of the Game on 96.7 The Eagle. Catron was 2-2 with two RBI. Flores and Bruemmer were both 2-3 and scored a run.


Anglin, who shut out South Bend Adams in Wednesday’s opening tournament game, pitched 14 scoreless innings, striking out 19 and allowing only six hits in the tournament.


The win was the 20th of the year for the Slicers who are now 20-9. Mishawaka bows out at 23-6.


La Porte will face Penn in the one game regional next Saturday. The time and location are yet to be determined by the IHSAA. Schreiber Field is one of the designated North regional sites so the Slicers will likely play at home.


Photo Credit:  Susan Anglin

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