Wildcats' 7-run comeback in 7th ties Spartans, win 9-8 in 8-innings

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith


Nick Lucido (24) rounds third base and scores what would be the winning run last
Saturday in Cedar Lake. Since the Spartans and Wildcats were playing two Greater South Shore Conference (GSSC) games, North Newton, which won the first game 9-4, was the home team on the scoreboard. (All photos by Mark Smith)
Hanover sophomore third baseman Mike Biegel (11) knows its about over in the bottom of the eighth. Biegel had three base hits and pitched two innings in relief in the come-from-behind win.
Hanover infielders watch Erik Lakomek (22) warm up in the seventh inning against North Newton. Lakomek (22), HC's most experienced pitcher, was brought on in relief after Hanover scored seven runs in the seventh inning to tie the score.
HC first baseman Graham Umlauf (22) knows that he's got the win in his hands after North Newton's Logan Jenczalik (19) just grounded out in last week's 9-8 Hanover win.
Graham Umlauf, Erik Lakomek and catch Sam Momcilovic (22) start the celebration as the Cats 'steal' one from North Newton.
Hanover coach Doug Nelson was looking for his team most of the day against North Newton but the Wildcats rallied from an 8-0 deficit to win 9-8 in eight innings earning a double-heard slit with the Spartans. (All photos by Mark Smith)


Team (Record) / Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 R H E
North Newton (5-2) 4 1 0 1 1 1 0 0 8 8 1
HANOVER CENTRAL (4-1) 0 0 0 0 0 1 7 1 9 16 3

Saturday, April 16, 2016 (Game 2) - 75 degrees, sunny in CEDAR LAKE, IN

WP – Erik Lakomek (2-0) 2K, 1 walls (2 inn.)
(SP) Nick Lucido (HC) 4K, 5 walks, 6 runs, 6 earned (3 inn.)
LP – Austin Kuiper 0K, 0 walks (1 inn.)
(SP) Charlie Betts (NN) 2K, 2 walks, 8 runs, 5 earned ( 7 inn.)

John Hartnig (SS) 1-for-3, 2 walks
Evan Herr (RF) 0-for-3, walk
Jono Bigger (C) 1-for-5, HR, 2 RBIs
Logan Jenczalik (DH) 0-for-2, walks
Cole Geller (1B) 2-for-3, walk
Charlie Betts (P) 1-for-3, 2 RBIs
Ben Vanderwall (2B) 1-for-3
Noah Olive (LF) 1-for-2, HBP
Austin Kuiper (CF) 1-for-3, double, RBI

Michael Craig (SS) 0-for-5
Mike Lucido (P) 1-for-4, walk, RBI
Evan Lakomek (SS) 0-for-3, sac bunt
Jose Sanchez (CF) 2-for-4, HBP, double
Sam Momcilovic (C) 2-for-5, RBI
Mike Biegel (3B) 3-for-5, RBI
Bobby Nowak (LF) 2-for-5, RBI
Ben Geringer (2B) 1-for-2
Clayton Cameron (RF) 2-for-3, RBIs

CEDAR LAKE (04-16-2016) You watch 100 baseball games to see one like this for the home team.

North Newton, an experienced squad with seven seniors, should have swept a double-header from the undefeated, but clearly young and rebuilding Hanover Central Wildcats Saturday.

Sure looked like they would, winning the first game 9-4 and leading game two by an 8-1 score going into Hanover’s final at bat. With two out in the top of the seventh (HC let North Newton be the home team on the scoreboard in the second game of the double-header) inning, the Spartans led Hanover 8-3 with senior right-hander Charlie Betts on the mound.

But for reasons I can't really explain. Hanover just wouldn’t let it go.

As the few remaining sunny Saturday fans prepared to head for home, Hanover freshman Sam Momcilovic singled to make it 8-4. Sophomore Mike Biegel singled on a 3-2 pitch to make it 8-5. Sophomore Bobby Nowak singled. Senior Graham Umlauf singled. And sophomore Clayton Cameron smacked a hard ground ball off the glove of North Newton shortstop Josh Hartning, scoring the tying runs.

Junior starting pitcher Erik Lakomek (3-0) then pitched a scoreless seventh before Biegel’s eighth inning RBI single put the Wildcats ahead.

“We always talk about getting deep in the count on every at-bat,” said coach Doug Nelson, after the double-header split which felt like a victory. “I keep saying ‘we’re young,’ but we are. We have a very young varsity.”

“Erik hadn't pitched in a week and a half so I said ‘Let’s just try and win this one’. To win this, after it looked like we’d lose two. That’s big for us.”

Hanover folks remembered that they tied a game scoring five runs in the top of the seventh inning in a game at Twin Lakes last season, but this rally may have topped that. So many of Hanover’s players are getting varsity playing time for the first time. On a warm sunny late Saturday afternoon, nobody in the small crowd (there might have been more North Newton people watching after six innings of game two) of friends and fans thought the Wildcats would do much when the score was 8-1 beginning the seventh inning.

“We had a lot of young people stepping up at big times,” said Nelson. Momcilovic is a freshman. Trying to prove himself. He got a big hit. Mike Biegel did a great job on the mound and had three hits. He was on the JV last year.”

“I just told them we have been embarrassed all day. I know we’re new, but we weren't playing the way Hanover is supposed to play. Our heads were down. Just told them we don’t give up. They did a good job. I’m proud of them.”

"As soon as you try to predict what will happen, you don’t know. I was already planning my ‘butt-kicking’ talk after the game and, all of a sudden, we‘re winning.”

CAT NOTES: Hanover (6-1-1) tied Wheeler 5-5 on Monday, April 18 and then topped Bishop Noll 7-1 Wednesday at Irving Park in Hammond. Erik Lakomek picked up his third victory of the season, pitching all six innings. Nick Lucido put the Wildcats ahead with a two-run second inning single.

Sophomore left-hander Clayton Cameron (2-0) struck out 12 in a 14-2 victory over Calumet Wednesday. Hanover stole 16 bases in the game.

In the first seven games, Hanover’s revamped pitching staff allowed just 42 hits in 55 innings but they did give up 26 walks.

Hanover hosts Hobart (7-2) on Saturday, May 7 at 11 a.m.

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Revised: April 25, 2016.