(La Porte) - Defending 4A State Champion Penn banged out thirteen hits while allowing the Slicers only one, defeating La Porte 6-2 in Saturday’s Regional Championship Game at Schreiber Field. Lake Central defeated Valparaiso 3-0 in the morning game and will face Penn in a four team 4A semi state at a location yet to be determined next Saturday.
The Slicers were the visiting team and got off to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Leadoff man Ben Dubbs dumped a single into center. Kade Flores laid a sacrifice bunt down in front of home plate. Penn catcher Zach Pelletier didn’t pick it up cleanly and Flores was safe at first putting runners on first and second for La Porte. After Drew Catron struck out, RJ Anglin hit a hard grounder to Penn third baseman RJ Cromartie. Penn got the force out at second but second baseman Colton Hudnall’s throw was wild to first allowing Dubbs to score giving the Slicers a 1-0 lead.
Penn came right back in the bottom of the inning. Cooper Hums singled up the middle and stole second. Slicer starter Anglin struck out Cam Dombrowski. Hums moved to third on a pass ball and scored on an Evan Tuesley base hit to tie the game at 1-1. Carter Moses threw out Tuesley trying to steal for the second out. A two out walk to Cromartie and a single to right by Pelletier put runners on the corners. Penn starting pitcher Adam Lehman singled to right to knock in Cromartie. It was 2-1 Penn after an inning.
La Porte went one two three in the top of the second and the Kingsmen picked up right where they left off. DH Casey Finn singled to lead the inning off. He was bunted to second by Hudnall and Hums flew out for the second out. The Kingsmen got an RBI single by Dombrowski, an RBI double by Tuesley and an RBI single by Cromartie to make it 5-1. Cody Ryden came in to relieve Anglin and got the final out of the inning.
Lehman had it on cruise control for Penn. He retired the Slicers in order in the third and fifth. In the fourth he hit Tommy Samuelson with a pitch but La Porte could not capitalize.
Penn picked up their sixth run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Ryden gave up a leadoff single to Hunter Morrett. Morrett advance to second on a ground out and scored on Hudnall’s RBI single making it 6-1.
The Slicers picked up an unearned run in the top of the sixth. Kade Flores reached on a two base throwing error by Cromartie. Lehman threw the ball into center field trying a pickoff, moving Flores to third. Catron bounced out to short driving in Flores making it 6-2.
Grant Olson entered the game for Ryden and tossed a scoreless bottom of the sixth. He gave up a single and struck out two.
In the Slicer seventh, pinch hitter AJ Mrozinske drew a walk with one out. DH Jax Land hit into to a 4-6-3 double play to end the game and the Slicer season.
Penn had a great offensive game plan against Slicer starter Anglin. They concentrated on hitting the ball to the opposite field as the touched up La Porte’s ace for five runs and seven hits in 1 2/3 innings. Though they had several solid hits they also dropped in several bloopers. All nine starters for Penn had at least one hit. Tuesley was 3-4 with a run and two RBI.
The Slicers, who were victims of a perfect game by Penn in the March season opener, managed only Dubbs’ single in the first. Both La Porte runs were unearned. The Kingsmen committed four errors.
Penn moves to the semi state with a 24-8 record. La Porte finishes 20-10. Ryden was named the Salisbury and Spence Player of the game on 96.7 The Eagle. He kept the Slicers in the game pitching 3 1/3 innings of one run, four hit baseball.
HTNN Editor Note: We'd like to thank Chip Jones and Steve Mannering for not only calling the Slicer Baseball games on 96.7 The Eagle this season, but for also covering the major plays of the game for HometownNewsNow.com this season. Thank you!