Cal Ripken Baseball

Crown Point 12s advance to Cal Ripken State Finals in South Bend

A Special Report by Mark Smith 


Ryan Bolda, left, of CP's 'white' squad, hit two home runs and drove in five runs Friday night (7-13-2012) in CP's 10-0 win over St. John. (All photos by Mark Smith)
Ryan Bolda (26) also played errorless ball at first base for Crown Point-white (in black shirts).
CP's Blaze Alexander pitched a two-hit shutout for the CP 'red' squad (5-1) in a 1-0 win over St. John Saturday. Alexander pitched two shutouts in CP's six district games.
St. John's Grant Buikema (23) allowed six hits and no walks in a complete game 1-0 loss to CP.
CP first baseman Carson Roeske (23) celebrates with his team after grabbing the last ground ball of the CP's 1-0 win over St. John Saturday. Roeske was 2-for-2 and drove in the game's only run.
CP catcher Jake McCalister (18) teamed with pitcher Blaze Alexander in a 1-0 win over St. John Saturday to advance Cp to the state finals at South Bend East Side (July 18-22).
Hammond's Mike Quintero (19) is about to finish Hammond's 16-0 win over shutout over CP's white team. Jason Schutt (21) got the only extra base hit off Quintero.
Hammond's Bianca Reillo gets her award as a member of Hammond's district championship team. Reillo was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer in Hammond's 16-0 win over CP Saturday, 07-14-2012.
Since the awards ceremony came at the end of the final game and the CP-red victory over St. John was the next to last game, only one CP-red team player was available at the end of the final game. So CP outfielder Yianni Kostouros (22), above, accepted all the awards for the entire team.
The Heartland Sports Complex in St. John was the site of the Cal Ripken District finals July 13-14, 2012.

Cal Ripken 12s District Finals Pool Play

Team (Record) / Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 R H E
ST. JOHN - Blue (4-2) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2
CROWN POINT - Red (5-1) 0 0 1 0 0 - 1 6 0

day, July 14, 2012 - 88-degrees, Cal Ripken 12s - District Finals pool play at St. John Baseball Complex, ST. JOHN, IN

WP - Blaze Alexander (2-0) CG, 11Ks, 2 walks (89 pitches)
LP - Grant Buikema (1-1) CG, 5K, 0 walks

St. JOHN-Blue (4-2)
Joey Storiz (CF) 2-for-2, walk
Brain Jacobs (SS) 0-for-2, sac bunt
Ray Hilbrich (1B) 0-for-2, walk
Grant Buikema (P) 0-for-3
Hunter Zahorsky (C) 0-for-3
Anthony Scanlon (3B) 0-for-2
Jordan Smith (LF) 1-for-2
Andrew Ericks (2B) 0-for-2
Joey Hintz (RF) 0-for-2

Adam Regan (1B) 1-for-3, run scored
Blaze Alexander (P) 0-for-3
Carson Roeske (3B-1B) 2-for-2, double, RBI
Andrew Mild (DH) 0-for-2
Jake DeFries (SS) 1-for-2
Jake McCallister (C) 0-for-2
Josh Whitaker (LF) 1-for-2, double
Jaeger Gill (RF) 0-for-2
Steven Carlson (2B) 1-for-2
Yianni Kostouros (CF) 0-for-1


Cal Ripken 12s District Finals Pool Play

Team (Record) / Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 R H E
CROWN POINT - White (3-2) 3 0 2 5 - - 10 10 0
ST. JOHN - Blue (4-2) 0 0 0 0 - - 0 2 1

day, July 13, 2012 - 82-degrees, Cal Ripken 12s - District Finals pool play at St. John Baseball Complex, ST. JOHN, IN

WP - Jacob Loosemore (1-0) CG, 4K, 1 walk, HBP
LP - Brian Jacobs (1-1) 1K, 0 walks (1.7 inn.)

CROWN POINT-White (3-2)
Jason Schutt (SS) 1-for-2, walk
Oszkar Kasch (C) 0-for-2, walk
Tommy Frame (LF) 2-for-3, RBI
Ryan Bolda (1B) 2 HRs, walk, 5 RBIs
Jacob Loosemore (P) 2-for-3, 2 RBIs
Aiden Swinford (3B) 0-for-3
Rian Farley (2B) 2-for-2, double
Tommy Angel (RF) 1-for-2
Taylor Smercansky (DH) 0-for-2
Scott Pfingston (CF) 0-for-2

ST. JOHN-blue (4-1)
Joey Storiz (CF) 0-for-1, HBP
Brian Jacobs (P) 0-for-2
Ray Hilbrich (SS) 1-for-2
Grant Buikema (1B) 0-for-2
Hunter Zahorsky (C) 1-for-2
Andrew Ericks (2B) 0-for-2
Anthony Scanlon (3B) 1-for-1, HBP
Joey Hintz (RF) 0-for-1
Jacob Bala (LF) 0-for-1

ST. JOHN (07-14-2012) What was expected to be the biggest and best game of the Cal Ripken age-12 district finals Saturday morning in St John wasn't the biggest game. Hammond's Optimist Bulldogs got shutout pitching the last two days and won the tournament. But the CP-St. John game was still the best.


Right-hander Blaze Alexander pitched a two-hit shutout and Carson Roeske drove in the game's only run in the third inning of a very well-played 1-0 CP win over the host team.

Crown Point (5-1) and Hammond (4-2) are the two Northwest Indiana representatives in the state finals this coming weekend at the South Bend East Side baseball complex

Alexander, a small (5-foot-3 at the most) right-hander with advanced pitching skills struck out 11, walked two and allowed only one outfield base hit and CP squeezed one run against St. John right-hander Grant Buikema in 90-degree late morning sunshine.

With two on and one out in the sixth (and final) inning, Alexander struck out Buikema on a 1-2 pitch and got St. John's Hunter Zahorsky to ground out to Roeske, CP's first baseman, to end the closest game of the tournament.


CP's win came 24 hours after they lost for the first time in the post-season, 6-0 to Hammond. How did they bounce back?


"I think we may have gotten a little cocky yesterday (Friday) said Alexander. who is clocked at 70 MPH, very good for a 12-year-old. "We just stepped it up today."


"My dad (Chuck Alexander) played in the minor leagues. He was a left-handed pitcher. He's taught me how to pitch."

Roeske and his teammates know that Blaze can throw unusually hard and they know why.

"I think it's his mechanics," Carson said Saturday. "Its just the way he throws."

Roeske agreed with Alexander about why CP lost to Hammond.

"We came into the game thinking we had it won," he said. "And we lost to a very good pitcher (Hammond's Bianca Reillo). Including the South Bend tournament we played in, we're 12-1. That was the first time we haven't scored at least five runs in a game. It was the first time we'd played (the regulation) six innings."

Though the CP 12s scored 62 runs in their first four district games, they definitely looked like a pitching-and-defense team last weekend. Crown Point only scored one run in their last 12 playoff innings at St. John. It's hard to figure out which team the CP all-stars are going forward.

The same can be said of Hammond. Hammond's Optimist league all-stars (4-2) surprised the other three teams, but maybe it shouldn't have been a surprise. This is the same core group that advanced to the state finals last year as 11-year-olds.


"Once we stopped walking people we were pretty good," said manager Jeff Rutherford. "We walked 17 in one game. But here we got really good pitching. Mike Quintero had a no hitter (against CP-white) until the last inning."

The Hammond Optimist league, a combination of some of the old Hammond leagues, has only been playing for seven years. This is their first trip to the age-12 state finals.

In a major upset, Hammond shut out both Crown Point teams in the final two days of the pool play district finals to win the 2012 Cal Ripken 12-year-old baseball championship Saturday afternoon.
Left-hander Michael Quintero pitched a two-hit shutout in a 16-0 win over CP's white (the No. 2) squad Saturday 24 hours after right-hander Bianca Riello, the only girl in the entire tournament, pitched a two-hit shutout to defeat CP's top team 6-0.

Riello and Quintero hit home runs in the 16-0 win. Hammond and CP both were 2-1 at the district finals, but Hammond is the champ due to the 6-0 head-to-head decision Friday night.

Both Hammond and the CP red all-stars advance to the 12-team double-elimination Cal Ripken Northern State finals at South Bend's East Side Little League beginning Thursday night, July 19.

Crown Point's 'white' team (which wears black shirts), generally considered their No. 2 all-star team in the age-12 bracket, rebounded from a 12-0 loss to CP's 'red' team (the No.1 team) Thursday to roll over St. John 10-0 just 24 hours later.

First baseman Ryan Bolda hit two long home runs leading a runaway win for CP's black shirts, creating the possibility that BOTH CP teams could have qualified for the age-12 state finals, an unprecedented feat.

"That's 12-year-old baseball," said CP black shirts manager Scott Angel. "How's that for a team that got beat 12-0 the night before. But who'd have thought our No. 1 (red) team wouldn't even score?"

Chuck Alexander, Blaze Alexander's father is about 6-foot-3, a foot taller than his son. Since Blaze is CP's hardest throwing 12-year-old now, what if he grew? Will he grow?

"Everybody in my family eventually is as tall as me," said Mr. Alexander. "But we were all late throwers. We work on leg drive, separation. Things like that. Finding the arm slot. Consistent in the strike zone."

The elder Alexander explains that his family is all baseball.

"My mom is a Plesac (like former Major leaguer Dan Plesac and present CPHS stars Zach and Ronnie Plesac). My grand father (Charles M. Alexander) was a baseball player, golfer, a Gary legend."

"I work with the Plesac boys. Hopefully Ronnie will be back on the mound (Tommy John surgery) in another month. Crown Point high school should have a heckuva season next year. Zach could be one of the Top-25 players in the country. He's got a 94-95 mile-an-hour arm."

The pivotal player in the tournament was Hammond's Bianca Reillo who pitched a complete-game win over Crown Point's No. 1 team. Since Cal Ripken 12-year-olds become Babe Ruth 13-year-olds, the question was: Will she be allowed to play for Hammond Babe Ruth League?

"I don't see any problem with it," said coach Jeff Rutherford of Reillo, who hit a two-run homer in the third pool play game and played first base. "They're checking into it but girls have played in Babe Ruth before. Some high school coaches won't allow it so I don't know what happens then."


"She's been that way since she was 10 years old," said Chuck Alexander. "I would hope she moves on to softball because there's a lot of opportunities for girls there in the NCAA."

All Cal Ripken 11-year old all-star teams need to note that the Hammond Optimist baseball complex near Riverside Park in North Hammond reportedly will host the 2013 Cal Ripken age-12 World Series.


What that means is: If the 2013 Ohio Valley Regional is in Indiana (in was in South Bend in 2011), an Indiana Cal Ripken all-star team could win the age-12 world championship without ever leaving the state.


2012 Cal Ripken Baseball District Finals
Cal Ripken all-stars age-12 (July 12-14) 2012 in St. John (pool play)

7-12 - CP (red) 12, CP (white) 0
7-12 - St. John-blue 3, Hammond Optimist 1

7-13 - Hammond Optimist - 6, CP-red - 0
7-13 - CP-black 10, St. John- blue 0 (4 inn.)

7-14 (Sat) CP-red 1, St. John-blue - 0*
7-14 (Sat) Hammond Optimist 16, CP-white - 0*

*Saturday's winners advance to the 2012 state finals at South Bend East Side.

Copyright 2012 and Meyer Multimedia Services, a division of Meyer Broadcasting Corp.  All rights reserved.
Revised: July 19, 2012.