La PORTE -- The warmest day of the spring brought out the best in Lake Central.
The hitting team that Indians coach Mike Swartzentruber has been expecting to see showed up Tuesday at Schreiber Field, where L.C. banged out 14 hits against a La Porte team that had allowed 11 runs in its first six Duneland Athletic Conference games.
"I don't think it was a fluke," Swartzentruber said after the 9-7 win. "This is the best offensive game we've had, but I felt we've got this in us. I've been really disappointed in our offense. We thought it would be more like this. In game 15, maybe we're starting to a turn a corner."
The Indians, who start just three seniors, roughed up La Porte's Cam Worthington and Caleb McGuire, also drawing five walks and getting hit three times to amass 22 baserunners.
"I felt like we should've had more," Swartzentruber said. "We left a lot of guys (13) out there."
Sophomore second baseman Josh Adamczewski, who came in hitting .500, reached base all five times with three hits, a walk and a hit by pitch.
"As a lefty, I was looking curve ball. I don't think I got one, but I went with the pitch. I got two away hits and one dribbler but it got through," Adamczewski said. "We've been missing a lot of fastballs. Today we were just on everything. Everything was hit hard."
Lake Central (10-5, 5-2) jumped in front on a two-out, two-strike, two-run single by Matt Santana in the first. The Indians scored twice in the third, fifth and sixth with Blake Neyhart, Jacob Warn and freshman Griffin Tobias all registering two hits. Neyhart, Warn and Jerry Edwards each scored twice, with Hunter Snyder contributing two runs and two RBI.
"I thought they did a nice job staying back on curve balls, hitting it the other way," Slicers coach Scott Upp said. "Caleb may be a little arm tired. I didn't think he had good zip on his fastball. That happens throughout the season. He struggled with his curve ball. You get behind in the count and have to rely on your fastball, with a good hitting team like that, you're going to struggle. You'll have days like that."
Carter Doorn had dominant stretches on the hill for Lake Central, striking out 12 with a wipeout breaking ball.
"To me, it's more of a curve ball action but he throws it hard," Swartzentruber said. "He had it going. He's our ace. We challenged him to come over here and throw a good game. I've got the utmost respect for Scott and his program. I was talking to the kids yesterday about La Porte's tradition, and the guys are looking at me like I'm crosseyed. They're like, what? I said, wait till you see the board that says 1987 national champs, national champs. But they were excited to come over. Obviously, this is a big game in the conference. If we were going to stay in it, we had to win."
Doorn was nicked for a two-run single by Hayden Lowe in the first after consecutive walks to start the frame, but had a stretch of 10 whiffs between the second and fifth.
"We had strikeouts because sometime somewhere durng the at-bat, we're taking fastballs right down the middle," Upp said. "I can name about four or five of them. We're up 1-0 and we take a fastball strike, 3-2 counts and we're looking at fastballs down the middle. At least get your money's worth. (Doorn)'s been in a lot of games. A pitcher with some savvy, now you're eating out of his hand. Our count hitting was just atrocious."
La Porte (11-4, 5-2) didn't let Doorn finish, chasing him with a couple hits in the seventh. "
Typical us, we can't cruise to the 21st out," Swartzentruber said. "It gets hairy. We shouldn't have to ride a guy. (Doorn) probably wasn't going to finish the game."
The Slicers scored three times, pulling within 9-6 on a Jayden Parkes double. It got the tying run to the plate but Conor Pangburn fanned Lowe to end it.
"That was nice, but you can't wait until the last inning," Upp said. "It doesn't excuse the first six innings. The disappointing thing for me was the mental mistakes. We haven't had that and hopefully we don't see it again. Obviously, we did a little running to remind them that this is not the way you play the game. Expectations here are higher than all the mental mistakes we made. Again, we deserve what we get. We weren't mentally ready to play."