Andrean ends season for Bulldogs with 4-1 Sectional Semifinal win

A Special Report by Mark Smith


Andrean left-hander Luke Jaksich looks to deliver in second inning action against
Crown Point Saturday. The 59er senior gave up just three base hits in the game. (All photos by Mark Smith)
CP freshman Josh Lindeman (11) throws out a baserunner in the seventh inning. Lindeman, who entered the game as a substitute, was the only freshman on the CP playoff roster.
Andrean's Evan Hylek (1) leads off behind CP first baseman Mike Wathier (15) in the third inning of Saturday's playoff game.
CP left fielder Joey O'Keefe (3) makes a diving catch of a drive by Evan Hylek in the fifth inning.
CP senior Nick Ricci lines a base hit to center leading of the fourth inning against Andrean.
CP senior Alex Ruiz (7) pitches in relief in Saturday's playoff game. The Bulldogs never led, ending the season with a 4-1 loss to Andrean.
Luke Adams (2) heads for the dugout after scoring CP's only run in the third inning of Saturday's playoff game.
Andrean coach Dave Pishkur coached his team to the 59ers first ever post-season win over Crown Point. The 59ers won back-to-back state championships in 2014 and 2015 as a 3A team.
CP first baseman Mike Wathier (15) gets set to take the throw from Brandon Haczynski (13) and retire Andrean's Noah Davis (5) in the third inning.
Justin Ruthrauff leads off second base in the seventh inning of the 5A Sectional 2 semifinals Saturday, Ruthrauff was to score the 59ers' fourth run in a 4-1 win.
59ers head coach Dave Pishkur (left) and pitching coach Joe Plesac (sitting) talk it over during Andrean's playoff game with Crown Pint last Saturday.
CP senior Evan Frank (4) dives for this line drive in the fifth inning. CP lost to Andrean for the second time this season, 4-1 Saturday at Merrillville. (All photos by Mark Smith)

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Revised: June 07, 2016.


Team (Record) / Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 R H E
ANDREAN (26-6) 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 1 4 8 0
CROWN POINT (17-12) 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0

Saturday, May 28, 2016  - 75 degrees, humid at Class 4A, Sectional 2 semifinal in MERRILLVILLE, IN

WP - Luke Jaksich (9-4) CG, 9K, 3 walks (99 pitches)
LP - Brandon Haczynski (5-3) 6K, 0 walks, 3 runs ( 5 inn.)

ANDREAN (26-6)
Evan Hylek (C) 1-for-3, run scored
Clay Thompson (CF) 1-for-3, RBI
Kevin McCune (DH) 0-for-3
Noah Davis (1B) 1-for-2, sac bunt, 2 RBIs
Adam Bednarek (2B) 0-for-2, sac bunt
Eric Mularski (LF) 1-for-3
Brad Lavegue (3B) 1-for-3, double, RBI, run scored
Luke Jaksich (P) 1-for-3
Justin Ruthrauff (RF) 1-for-2, walk, run scored

Alex Ruiz (LF) 0-for-2, walk
Mark Mazure (3B) 0-for-2, walk
Nick Ricci (C) 1-for-3
Justin Akers (DH) 0-for-3
Grayson Lynk (LF) 0-for-2
Brandon Haczynski (P) 0-for-3
Luke Adams (SS) 2-for-3, triple
Evan Frank (2B) 0-for-1, walk, RBI
Joey O'Keefe (RF) 0-for-2

CROWN POINT (05-28-2016) When you have a play a two-time defending state championship baseball team, you have to hope they aren't as good as they were those two years or you don't have to face their best pitcher.

Crown Point didn't get either wish last Saturday.

Andrean, coming off 30-6 (2014) and 31-4 (2015) seasons, ran their 2016 record to 27-6 when senior lefthander Luke Jaksich limited the Bulldogs to three hits and three walks in a 4-1 victory in the Class 4A Sectional 2 semifinals in Merrillville.

Jaksich, the starting pitcher in Andrean's Class 3A state championship game win over Jasper last June, didn't give CP (17-12) many chances to score on a day when a warm southwest wind was blowing out towards I-65 behind the Merrillville baseball complex.

Given a 3-0 lead early, the 59ers' top pitcher struck out six of Crown Point's final nine batters to get Andrean to the sectional championship game in their first season as a Class 4A school.

CP coach Steve Strayer gave Jaksich the creadit.

"He mixed it up and hit his spots," said the CP coach. "Did a nice job."

Andrean scored two runs in the third inning without a solid base hit. Justin Ruthrauff bounced an infield hit off the glove of both CP pitcher Brandon Haczynski and shortstop Luke Adams. Evan Hylek slapped a hit-and-run single to deep second. Then sophomore Clay Thompson faked a bunt and bounced a groundball into center field to make the score 2-0.
One out later, Andrean clean up batter Noah Davis laid down a squeeze bunt, scoring Hylek from third base.

"They exceuted," said Strayer. "They executed perfectly. They're a nice ballclub. Fundamentally sound. That's about it.
Jaksich is a good pitcher. He helped them to the state championship last year. He can handle the pressure situations."

"Just trying to keep the ball low," Jaksich said. "Changeup was really working. Coach just said to throw the ball hard. Go out there like you're the best. The defense had no flaws today."

The wind blowing out was something the Andrean senior noticed before the game.

"That triple (Luke Adams' second inning triple to right center). I thought that was a pop up. He can hit, but that just kept going. They got that run but I just wanted to make that the end of it."

The most surprising part of this game was that there were no home runs in very summer-like windy conditions.

"Wing blowing out," said Andrean coach Dave Pishkur, "All their guys are about 6-foot-4 and 290. He gives up three hits and one run.

"He was really good today. Our guys executed the slash today. That was the first time we called the 'slash' with runners at first and second all year.

"Their guy (Haczynski) did nothing but throw strikes so it was an easy call. You know the ball would be there."

CP had just three hits and they were a bit unlucky when Mark Mazure's line drive with a runner at second and two out in the third inning went directly to center fielder Clay Thompson in the spacious Merrillville high outfield.

"I just tried to keep the ball down. The wind actually helps the ball break. The big thing today was to keep the ball low and throw the breaking pitch for a strike. They've got some big tall boys who can get down and touch the breaking ball."

"I thought we were going to get him," said Strayer, " but we made some bad decisions at the plate and he made some great pitches."

"We hit a couple of balls hard but we hit them right at him. We've been doing that all year. Were kinda used to it. We came on a bit at the end of the season but we ran into a buzz saw today."

DOG NOTES: Andrean lost the 4A Sectional 1 championship game 6-3 to Chesterton on Memorial Day. Crown Point, which graduates nine seniors this month, won the Sectional 2 quarterfinal 15-0 over Merrillville.

Mark Mazure was 3-for-3 with a homerun and two RBIs. Luke Adams was 2-for-3 with a triple and three RBIs. Mazure, Dillon Farinelli and Ryan Bolda combined on a 5-inning no-hitter.

CP ended the regular season with a 5-4 win over Hanover Central. Mark Mazure was 2-for-4 as the Bulldogs survived five errors.

CP also topped Morgan Township 7-2 in the final week as Grayson Lynk had a double, home run and two RBIs.