There was a tournament feel at chilly Schreiber Field Friday as La Porte hosted stated rated New Prairie in their annual rivalry matchup. A large enthusiastic crowd saw LP take a 5-1 lead after three innings then hold on for dear life to post a 5-4 win.
New Prairie took a 1-0 lead in an odd top of the first inning against Slicer starter Cody Ryden. Leadoff man Dallas Ryans beat out a swinging bunt down the third base line, followed by Francisco Bibian beating out an actual bunt. Grady Keplin hit a chopper to Slicer third baseman Drew Catron. Catron threw to second for the force on Bibian. Bibian’s hard slide into second broke the stake securing second base. A fifteen-minute delay ensued as the base was replaced. After the delay, NP had runners on first and third with one out. Cleanup man Mason Braun hit into a force out scoring Bibian. Tyler Greenwood flew out to left field to end the inning.
La Porte came back in the bottom of the first with two runs. Ben Dubbs was hit by a pitch and Carter Moses drew a walk from Cougar starter Joe Kinney. Kade Flores hit a triple to left center field driving in both Dubbs and courtesy runner Drew Flores making it 2-1. Kinney settled in getting RJ Anglin to pop out before striking out both Tommy Samuelson and Catron looking stranding Flores at third.
The Slicers took advantage of an infield error in the second. Keli Hay reached on a miscue by NP third baseman Bibian. A sacrifice bunt by Kai Jones moved him to second. Ryan Bruemmer was called out on strikes for the second out followed by a long RBI triple by Dubbs. Cougar shortstop Colin Wind made a great play to end the inning, ranging into the hole and making a strong throw to first to nip Moses for the final out saving a run. It was 3-1 Slicers after two innings.
LP increased the lead to 5-1 in the third. Kade Flores walked and stole second. He moved to third on Anglin’s fly out to right. Samuelson then laced a long RBI triple to dead center field scoring Flores. Samuelson scored on Catron’s base hit to right.
That would be all of the scoring for the Slicers. Kinney got the final two outs of the third inning. He started the fourth inning with a walk to Bruemmer and was replaced by Tyler Greenwood. Greenwood retired nine of the ten hitters he faced allowing only a one-out walk to pinch hitter Jax Land in sixth.
New Prairie had a great scoring opportunity in the second inning. Freshman catcher Reed Robinson crushed a triple to center field to lead off the inning. Kinney hit a hard grounder to Catron at third. With Robinson running on ground ball contact, Catron threw to the plate to get Robinson for the first out. After a force out at second Wind singled to left putting two runners on. Ryden got Ryans to popup to end the inning.
The Cougars also threatened in the fourth. Brody Traxler smacked a two-out single and Ryden plunked Wind with a pitch. Traxler stole third, putting runners on the corners before a Ryans ground out ended the inning.
With one out in the sixth Robinson hit an absolute laser over the right field fence to make it a 5-2 game moving into the seventh. Wind grounded out to start the seventh. Ryans reached on an error by Anglin. Bibian hit a chopper up the middle, it deflected off of the leaping Ryden’s glove for an infield hit. With runners on first and second Grady Kepplin hit what looked to be a game-tying home run to left. The ball got caught in the wind and fell at the base of the fence for a two-run double. Kepplin advanced to third on an errant relay throw. With one out and tying run on third, Slicer coach Scott Upp pulled in the infield. Braun hit a hard ground ball right at Catron, who looked the runner back before throwing Braun out. Pinch hitter Matt Sorce popped up to Dubbs in left and LP got away with a 5-4 win.
There will be twelve total hits in the game and half were for extra bases. New Prairie had a homer, triple, and double. The Slicers had three triples. Slicer center fielder Bruemmer made a nice running catch on a long drive by Robinson and NP right fielder Kepplin made a nice running catch on Catron in the fifth.
Ryden picked up the win by going the distance. He allowed four runs, three earned, and eight hits. More importantly, he did not issue a walk, hit one batter, and struck out three. Kinney took the loss allowing five runs and four hits over three innings. Greenwood finished up for NP walking one over three innings.
La Porte’s Ryden was named the Salisbury and Spence Edward Jones Player of the Game for his mound work. Robinson was named POG for New Prairie going two for three with a triple and home run. His only out having been a deep fly ball to center. Kepplin knocked in three runs for the Cougars. Slicer center fielder Bruemmer left the game with a leg injury sprinting to first in the sixth.
La Porte improves to 11-6 on year. New Prairie falls to 12-4-1.
The Slicers travel to Michigan City Tuesday, game time 4:30. The Wolves will come to Schreiber Field on Wednesday. La Porte will travel to South Bend to take on Adams at 6:00 Friday night. As always these games can be heard on WCOE 96.7 the Eagle.
Photos Courtesy of Susan Anglin.