Bulldogs finish regular season with mixed results in advance of Chesterton Baseball Sectional

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith


CP's Eric Santaguida (30) gets ready to throw against Chesterton in the final Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) game of the year. (All photos by Mark Smith)
CP's Blake Pysh (23) and Mike Kulak (17) get ready to bat in front of the CP dugout. the Bulldogs finished second in the DAC.
CP junior Chris Bachman leads off first base against Chesterton first baseman Ryan Donley (22).
A team meeting on and near the mound includes shortstop Cal Curiel, second baseman Luke Burford (4) and first baseman Chris Bachman (12), whose opinions are not being requested at this moment.
CP's Mike Kulak gets his batting stance ready against Chesterton. The Bulldogs scored five times in the third inning.
CP third baseman Gabe Stout grabs a hot Chesterton ground ball in the two teams' DAC matchup last week. The Bulldogs reached 20 wins on the season with victories over Chesterton and Illiana Christina in the final week of the regular season.
CP pitcher Eric Santaguida finished the regular season with a 5-0 record. The Bulldogs were 11-3 in DAC play losing only to LaPorte, Valparaiso and Lake Central.
Chesterton's Blake Lemmon pulls a hot shot past CP third baseman Gabe Stout in the fifth inning. CP never trailed in a 5-2 victory.
CP's Blake Pysh has nothing but a smile after he hits a line drive back to Chesterton pitcher Sean Kasper in the third inning.
Crown Point shortstop Cal Curiel charges this slow bouncing ball in the sixth inning. CP's only home DAC loss was to Valparaiso.
CP's Gabe Stout is about to get the glad hand from coach Steve Strayer after his third-inning home run. Stout's homer with two on was the big hit of the game.
CP junior Eric Santaguida gets the good word from coach Steve Strayer after pitching the first five innings of a 5-2 Bulldog victory. (All photos by Mark Smith)

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Revised: June 01, 2021.


Team (Record) / Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
McCutcheon (22-6) 1 0 0 0 2 1 2 6 6 1
CROWN POINT (19-8) 0 1 0 0 0 0 4 5 10 3

Saturday, May 22, 2021  - 85 degrees, sunny, 10-15 mph winds in CROWN POINT, IN

McCutcheon (22-6)
Payton Fulk (SS) 0-for-3, walk, stolen base
Drew Loy (CF) 0-for-3, walk
Braden Racke (C) 1-for-3, double, RBI, HBP
Keaton Crum (1B) 1-for-4, RBI
Kameron Pelfree (DH) 1-fo-3, triple HBP, RBI
Jayden All (3B) 0-for-3, walk
Brady Zimmer (RF) 0-for-3, walk
Jared Stewart (2B) 2-fort-2, walk
Mason Rice (LF) 2-for-3

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

WP – Eli Swank (3-0) 0K, 2 walks (6.3 inn)
(SAVE) Mason Reid (McC) 1K
LP – Gabe Stout (2-3) 7K, 3 walks (5 inn.)

Team (Record) / Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Chesterton (9-14, 4-10 DAC) 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 6 1
CROWN POINT (19-6, 11-3 DAC) 0 0 5 0 0 0 - 5 7 1

Thursday, May 20, 2021  - 75 degrees, sunny, 15-20 mph winds in CROWN POINT, IN

Chesterton (9-14)
Mitch McElfresh (LF) 0-for-2, walk
Josh Roof (C) 1-for-2
Sam Cooke (PH) 1-for-2
Ryan Donley (1B) 0-for-4
Chris Mullen (SS) 1-for-4, run scored
Tommy Harrigan (3B) 1-for-4
Eli Garcia (DH) 0-for-2, walk, RBI
Sean Kasper (P) 0-for-1
Trevor Donley (PH) 0-for-2
Gavin Campbell (CF) 1-for-3, RBI

Cal Curiel (SS) 1-for-3, RBI
Chris Bachman (1B) 2-for-3, RBI
Gabe Stout (3B) 1-for-3, HR, 3 RBI
Blake Pysh (LF) 0-for-3
Eric Santaguida (P) 1-for-2, walk
Ryan Hannon (RF) 1-for-3
Clay Wignall (C) 0-0-0
Mike Kulak (PH-C) 0-for-3
Dom Sainato (CF) 1-for-2, HBP, 2 stolen bases
Luke Buford (2B) 0-for-2, walk

WP – Eric Santaguida (5-0) 2K, 2 walks (5 innings)
SAVE - Zach Galocy (CP) 4K, 1 walk (2 inn.)
(starter) Sean Kasper (3-4) 4K, 2 walks, 5 earned runs, (5 innings)

CROWN POINT (05-22-2021) There’s no doubt that the final day of the 2021 regular season did not go as the hometown Crown Point Bulldogs might have wanted.

CP was looking to whip up on some outsiders on a double-header Saturday (May 22) but Plymouth and McCutcheon would not have it.

The Pilgrims scored four times in the last two innings to top CP 4-1 and McCutcheon never trailed in a 6-5 win over the Bulldogs. The week before the sectional playoffs everybody wanted to look ahead and not back.

“I was very upset the way our approach at the plate was against Plymouth,” said CP coach Steve Strayer. “I thought we had a good approach against McCutcheon. They showed us a good pitcher. We had a good approach. We had eight hits. And we had eight hits.”

“We had a 1-0 lead on Plymouth early and we just relaxed,” said Strayer. We’re just too nice. We have a bunch of nice guys. We relaxed. We have to get tougher and get gritty and dirty. Even when we have the lead.”

“We made some mistakes against McCutcheon. Glaring mistakes. But we had a good approach. I was much happier with that.”

Crown Point (19-8) made two errors on a pickoff play with McCutcheon’s Payton Fulk batting in the fifth inning to turn a tie game into a 3-1 leads for the Mavericks (22-6), who have been ranked just outside the state top-10 all year.

McCutcheon clean up man Keaton Crum smacked an RBI single to right field to make it 5-1 in the top of the seventh before Kameron Pelfree launched a triple to the right center field fence to up the score to 6-1.

After scoring just one run in 13 innings in the warm, summer-like Saturday sunshine against Plymouth and McCutcheon, CP mounted a four-run rally in the bottom of the seven against the Mavericks. McCutcheon may have helped CP with some shaky defense during that late rally, but the Bulldogs were glad to at least make it close.

With one out, Cal Curiel and Chris Bachman singled for the home team and Gabe Stout walked. Eric Santaguida hit a bouncer to deep short that probably could have been fielded, but charitably went for an RBI single. After Jayden Phillips' run-scoring hit cut the lead to 6-3, the Bulldogs Blake Pysh smoked a hot shot to third that, again, could have been played, but in the spirit of home town scorekeeping, zipped through for another RBI hit.

Ryan Hannan grounded out, scoring the fifth CP run. But relief pitcher Mason Rice saved the game for the Mavericks by striking out Dom Sainato on a 2-2 pitch.

After this CP wanted to look ahead with an inevitable meeting with powerhouse Andrean (rain-delayed until Saturday 2 p.m.) in the Class 4A Chesterton Sectional.

“We hit a lot of balls hard right at people today,” said senior Cal Curiel. “I think we got something going.”

“The first time we played Andrean (a 10-0 loss), we certainly didn't play our best. But, if we’re lucky enough to get past Lowell, this will be different. We know how good they are, but we’ll be ready to play our best and we’ll see what happens.”

“This is always is good test for us, because we use the next level of pitching,” said the McCutcheon coach. “Our sophomore did a good job This was a big game for him. A test. Facing a good team like Crown Point.”

DOG NOTES: Crown Point closed out the Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) season with wins over Chesterton 7-3 and 5-2. In the 7-3 win, senior Will Pettit (7-0) pitched a complete game with seven strikeouts and no walks. The Bulldogs’ 13-hit attack was led by junior Eric Santaguida who was 3-for-4. Clay Wignall and Cal Curiel both smacked out a single and a double. In the 5-2 win, Santaguida (5-0) pitched five innings for the win and Gabe Stout had the big hit, a third inning, three-run homer.

Near the end of a good year, a lot of players comment that 'no one expected much out of them this year.’ But with Covid-19 wiping out the entire 2020 season, nobody knew what to expect out of the 2021 Crown Point Bulldogs or anybody else.

“It’s been a good season,” Gabe said. “I think we proved some people wrong. Nobody knew what to expect from us. It's been an interesting year. We’ve been getting the job done when we needed to. Hopefully that will continue, especially heading into sectionals next week.”
The homerun came with one out in the third and CP leading 1-0. Stout was guessing on the pitch and he guessed right.

“I was sitting changeup on that one,” Gabe said. “He’d been going to his changeup with two strikes. I read it coming out of his hand. It was perfectly placed and I got to put a good swing on it. Feels good when you don’t try to do too much. Just a regular swing. It’s one of those you don’t really feel. It just flies off the bat.”

The first time through the batting order against Chesterton right-hander Sean Kasper, Stout, leadoff man Cal Curiel and No. 2 hitter Chris Bachman all struck out. The second time through the order, all three got base hits. You see that sometimes and you wonder what did the hitters do? What did they change?

“He had great stuff,” said Stout of Kasper. “He had three really good pitches and he was throwing them for strikes. He rolled through our lineup the first time. We were able to adjust. He didn’t throw the fastball too much (the second time). He went to the off-speed a lot. We sat on off-speed for awhile the second time through.”

In the final game of the regular season, Crown Point topped an overmatched Illiana Christian team 16-2 in six innings. Anthony Sainato was 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Eric Santaguida had a double and four RBIs. CP stole six bases and Illiana pitchers hit four Bulldog batters.

In the Sectional 2 quaterfinal against Lowell, Chris Bachman struck out nine in 4 1/3 innings, allowing only a home run from Lowell’s Chris Vinson. Bachman also reached base four times for CP (21-8) on two singles and two walks.

2021 CROWN POINT Bulldogs (21-8, 11-3 DAC)
Coach Steve Strayer 28th year (634-233) (18th year at CP)
28-5 in 2019, 21-8 in 2018, 19-9 in 2017, 19-9 in 2016, 25-6 (2015)
Duneland Athletic Conference games in CAPS
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 (16-6-1)
April 28 (L) 0-10 Valparaiso (16-6-1) 6 inn.
April 30 (W) 13-1 Lowell (5 inn.)
May 4 (W) 12-6 at MERRILLVILLE
May 7 (W) 5-0 Munster (16-9)
May 8 (L) 0-10 Andrean (20-3) 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 (10-14)
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
5-26 (Sat.) Andrean – 2 p.m.
5-28 (Mon.) championship – 11 a.m.