Bulldogs upset 4A No. 4 Andrean 4-2 before losing 6-2 to Valpo in Chesterton Baseball Sectional

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith


CP senior Jayden Phillips watches the action from the home dugout. The Bulldogs topped Andrean for their 22nd win of the season. (All photos by Mark Smith)
Senior Cal Curiel (12) watches from shortstop as junior pitcher Eric Santaguida (30) faces Valparaiso. Curiel was a solid leadoff man for CP and he singled and scored CP's final run against the Vikings.
Valparaiso right-hander Grant Comstock struck out 10 in the Vikings sectional championship win over Crown Point. It was Comstock's second win over CP this season.
CP senior Blake Pysh (23) watches Valpo pitcher Grant Comstock get ready to throw. Pysh was 2-for-3 against the Valpo senior right-hander.
CP catcher Clay Wignall watches from the Crown Point bench. Wignall caught all three playoff games for CP at the Chesterton Sectional.
CP's Gabe Stout (26) struck out five in four innings of relief pitching against Valpo, allowing no earned runs.
CP coach Steve Strayer watches from the Bulldogs' dugout. CP won at least 2 games for the third season in a row.
Chris Bachman and coach Steve Strayer watch from third base as Blake Pysh (23) pulls a hard ground ball. Pysh was 2-for-3 against the Vikings.
Chris Bachman (8) leads off first base in the first inning against Valpo. The Vikings won two out of three from CP this season.
Valparaiso shortstop Ty Gill (2) spies on CP pinch-runner Matt Corona (1) in the sixth inning. Gill was an all-conference player in the Duneland Athletic Conference.
Valpo's Logan Lockhart heads for first base, but CP shortstop Cal Curiel (12) gets set to throw him out in the sectional title game on Memorial Day.
The Vikings pose with the Class 4A Sectional 2 championship trophy. Valparaiso led all the way to defeat Crown Point 6-2. (All photos by Mark Smith)

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Revised: June 20, 2021.


Team (Record) / Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Valparaiso (19-7-1) 1 0 1 3 0 0 1 6 10 0
CROWN POINT (22-9) 1 0 0 0 0 1 - 2 5 4

Monday, May 31, 2021  - 70 degrees, sunny, 5-10 mph winds, 4A Sectional 2 Championship in CHESTERTON, IN

Valparaiso (19-7-1)
Ty Gill (SS) 0-for-3, 2 intentional walks, run scored
Eric Kallert (RF) 1-for-4, 2 runs scored
Carter Kosiara (3B) 1-for-3, triple, walk, RBI, run scored
Logan Lockhart (CF) 3-for-4, double, 4 RBIs
Lucas Siewen (DH) 0-for-3, walk
Michael Zajac (1B) 1-for-4, run scored
Dillon Rodriguez (LF) 2-for-4, double
Chris Rahm (C) 0-for-3
Cameron Milroy (2B) 1-for-4

Cal Curiel (SS) 1-for-3, walk, run scored
Chris Bachman (1B) 1-for-4
Gabe Stout (3B) 0-for-4, RBI
Eric Santaguida (P) 1-for-4, RBI
Jayden Phillips (3B) 0-for-3
Blake Pysh (LF) 2-for-3
Ryan Hannon (RF) 0-for-3
Dom Sainato (CF) 0-for-2, walk
Clay Wignall (C) 1-for-2, double, walk

WP – Grant Comstock (7-1) 9K, 3 walks (6 inn.)
LP – Eric Santaguida (5-1) 4K, 2 walks, 3 runs, (2 earned) 3 inn.

Team (Record) / Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Andrean (24-4) 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 5 2
CROWN POINT (22-8) 0 0 0 0 4 0 - 4 4 1

Friday, May 28, 2021  - 55 degrees, sunny, 10-15 mph winds, 4A Sectional 2 Semifinal in CHESTERTON, IN

Andrean (24-3)
Brad White (LF) 0-for-3
Peyton Niksch (RF) 1-for-3
Mikey Jarek (1B) 0-for-3
Jax Kalemba (C) 2-for-3, run scored
Robert Ballentine (3B) 0-for-2, walk
Drayk Bowen (CF) 1-for-3
Charles Jones (2B) 0-for-3, run scored
Kyle Tyler (DH) 2-for-3, double, 2 RBIs
Michael Galanos (SS) 0-for-2, sac bunt

Cal Curiel (SS) 0-for-2, walk, run scored
Chris Bachman (1B) 0-for-1, walk, HBP, run scored
Gabe Stout (3B) 1-for-3, 2 RBIs
Eric Santaguida (P) 1-for-3, double, RBI
Jayden Phillips (3B) 1-for-3, HBP, RBI
Blake Pysh (LF) 0-for-2
Ryan Hannon (RF) 0-for-3
Dom Sainato (CF) 1-for-2, double, walk
Clay Wignall (C) 1-for-3, double
Mike Kulak (PH) 0-for-1

WP – Will Pettit (8-0) CG, 5K, 1 walk
LP – Justin Schausburger (5-2) 9K, 3 walks (5 inn.)

CLASS 4A Chesterton Sectional
5-26 - Valparaiso 4, Portage 0
5-27 - Andrean 5, Hobart 2
5-27 - Crown Point 6, Lowell 3
5-28 - Valparaiso 9, Chesterton 2
5-28 - CROWN POINT 4, Andrean 2
5-31 - Valparaiso 6 CROWN POINT 2 (championship)

CHESTERTON (05-31-2021) It’s a shame that in Northwest Indiana high school baseball, that beating five-time state champion Andrean doesn’t win you the sectional title. But for the Crown Point Bulldogs, it didn't.

Three days after Crown Point recorded a major upset by eliminating the Class 4A No. 4 59ers 4-2, the Bulldogs had to beat NW Indiana’s top pitcher in the Class 4A Chesterton Sectional championship game.

CP didn’t have two upsets in them. Valparaiso star Grant Comstock struck out nine in six innings as Valparaiso won its first sectional baseball title in nine years, beating CP 6-2 on Memorial Day in front of about 400 fans at Chesterton high school.

Comstock threw 114 pitches and struck out 10 in six innings as the Bulldogs battled him at the plate, But the 6-foot-6 right-hander, who will pitch for Northwestern University next spring, limited CP (22-9) to four singles and a double by CP senior Clay Wignall.

“We had some defensive problems,” said coach Steve Strayer, who watched his team give up four unearned runs. “I thought we battled him," (referring to Comstock (7-1), "but we didn’t get the big hit when we needed it. He made some big pitches. He’s going to Northwestern (on a baseball scholarship) for a reason.”

After an RBI double from Logan Lockhart in the top of the first inning, Crown Point (22-9) tied the game on an RBI single from pitcher Eric Santaguida (5-1) in the bottom of the first. But errors turned the game in the third and fourth. Valpo’s Carter Kosira tripled to lead off the third and scored on an error by CP shortstop Cal Curiel. In the fourth, an error by second baseman Jayden Phillips helped Valpo (19-7-1) load the bases before Kosiara walked to make it 3-1 and Lockhart singled to make it 5-1.

CP, which split two Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) games with Valparaiso during the regular season, was chasing runs the rest of the game, stranding base-runners in the third, fourth and sixth before an RBI ground out by Gabe Stout cut the lead to 6-2 in the seventh against relief pitcher Nolan Coil.

When asked what was the last time Valpo won a baseball sectional, Valparaiso coach Todd Evans unbuttoned his jersey to reveal a Valparaiso Sectional championship T-shirt from the year 2012. Evans was a bit prouder of his team than he was of the fact that he can still wear T-shirts he wore in high school nine years later.

“In football, we’ve had a lot of success,” he said of Valparaiso athletics. “But not in baseball. So this means a lot.”

Comstock shut out Portage 4-0 in the sectional semifinals so his performance against CP on a 70-degree Memorial Day Monday was not a surprise.

“He wasn’t at his best,” said Evans, “but even not his best is pretty good. He did not want me to take him out (after six innings). He hates to come out.”

DOG NOTES: The Crown Point-Andrean game was unusually emotional. Both sides had a vocal fan following and batters on both teams kept calling time out and stepping out of the batters’ box.

The sparks stemmed from an earlier (last month) 10-0 Andrean win over the Bulldogs which didn’t set well with CP. Unless I’m mistaken, there was a CP taunt of "Go back to 3A" after the final out.

The loss to CP will send the 59ers back to the 3A classification for 2022 due to the IHSAA’s ‘success factor.’ Andean was a small 3A school (They may now be 2A) by enrollment two years ago. The 59ers moved up to 4A due to their success in the post-season, including the 2018 and 2019 Class 3A state championships. Andrean was 31-6 in 2018 and 36-1 in 2019. There were no spring sports in Indiana in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Being eliminated in the 2021 sectional will return the 59ers to their classification by enrollment.

CP seemed overmatched against Andrean right-hander Justin Schausburger, who struck out seven Bulldogs in the first four innings. But things changed dramatically with two out in the fifth. Clay Wignall doubled to left field and Cal Curiel walked on a 3-2 pitch. Chris Bachman was hit by a pitch and Gabe Stout lined a two-run single to right field. A wild pitch made it 3-0 and Eric Santaguida, who had previously struck out twice, lined another double to right field to give Crown Point a 4-0 lead.

Senior right-hander Will Pettit, who went undefeated during the regular season, held the 59ers (27-4) scoreless until the seventh inning when Kyle Tyler smacked a two out, two-run double. But Pettit got the 59ers’ Michael Galanos to ground out to end the game, reversing an earlier 10-0 Andrean win over CP in May.

“I had two pitches going,” Will said after the game. “I thought did pretty well.”

When asked if the playoff victory over the 5-time state champs was the highlight of his undefeated senior season, Pettit said. “Let's wait and see what happens in the (sectional) championship game.”

Coach Steve Strayer noted the spirited nature of the Andrean game and said, “It was a big deal to the boys after we lost to them earlier. They’ve won a lot but our sectional is a gauntlet.”

Valparaiso went on to lose to Munster (22-12) in regional play and Munster lost the Class 4A Northern Semistate 3-2 to Fishers.

Crown Point had 10 seniors on the 2021 playoff roster so they will debut a very different team in the spring of 2022. CP’s Will Pettit (9-0) ended his regular season with the complete game win over state-ranked Andrean, giving him one of the finest pitching seasons in Crown Point varsity baseball history. The right-hander, who was used largely in DAC games, pitched 59 1/3 innings allowing 21 runs and 40 hits. Pettit struck out 61 and walked 23.

The school record for pitching victories 12, posted by Will’s dad, Chip Pettit, in 1992.

2021 CROWN POINT Bulldogs (22-8, 11-3 DAC)
Coach Steve Strayer 28th year (636-234) (18th year at CP)
28-5 in 2019, 21-8 in 2018, 19-9 in 2017, 19-9 in 2016, 25-6 in 2015

March 29 (L) 3-5 at Munster (16-9)
March 30 (W) 2-0 at Hanover Central
April 3 (L) 4-5 at Highland (8 innings)
April 6 (W) 11-3 LAKE CENTRAL (20-6)
April 7 (L) 4-10 at LAKE CENTRAL (20-6)

Jefferson Invitational in Lafayette
April 10 (W) 12-9 Jefferson
April 11 (W) 15-4 Harrison
April 11 (rained out) McCutcheon

April 13 (W) 8-0 MICHIGAN CITY
April 14 (W) 3-2 at MICHIGAN CITY (8 innings)
April 17 (W) 11-0 (5 innings) Penn (17-9)
April 17 (W) 3-2 (8 innings) Penn (17-9)
April 22 (L) 2-3 (12 innings) at LaPORTE (20-6)
April 23 (W) 5-4 LaPORTE (20-6)
April 27 (W) 7-5 VALPARAISO (19-8-1)
April 28 (L) 0-10 Valparaiso (19-8-1) 6 inn.
April 30 (W) 13-1 Lowell (5 inn.)
May 4 (W) 12-6 at MERRILLVILLE
May 7 (W) 5-0 Munster (21-9)
May 8 (L) 0-10 Andrean (24-4) 6 inn.
May 11 (W) 6-1 PORTAGE
May 12 (W) 4-2 at PORTAGE
May 14 (W) 11-5 at Hobart
May 18 (W) 7-3 at CHESTERTON (9-14)
May 19 (W) 5-2 CHESTERTON (9-14)
May 22 (L) 1-4 Plymouth (10-15)
May 22 (L) 5-6 McCutcheon (22-6)
May 24 (W) 16-2 at (St. John) Illiana Christian

Chesterton (4A) Sectional
5-25 (W) 6-3 Lowell
5-28 (W) 4-2 Andrean (24-4)
5-31 (L) 2-6 Valparaiso (19-8-1)