Prep Baseball Report

Valparaiso Tops New Prairie in Shortened Contest

Steve Krah
PBR Indiana Correspondent

NEW CARLISLE — Elements were in force Friday, April 12 at Harry “Bear” Tolmen Field.

Strong wind and the placement of the sun were factors in a non-conference high school baseball game between visiting Valparaiso and New Prairie.

It was windy enough to fly a kite. In fact, some fans did just that on the first base side.Wind was a factor on balls hit in the air and so was the sun. Many balls hit to left field became an adventure with the glare in the fielders’ eyes. The teams combined for 10 fielding errors (six by Valpo).

The contest started later than scheduled because Valparaiso had to wait to secure a bus to travel to the game. The Vikings did not leave their campus until 3:45 p.m.

In the end, Valparaiso left with a 7-5 victory in a game shortened to six innings because of darkness. The Vikings improved to 6-1 and the Cougars fell to 6-2.

“Unfortunately, it brings a good game an inning short,” said Valparaiso coach Todd Evans. “It probably would’ve been a heck of an ending to a game. “With the wind and sun today, it was a unique ball game. It’s at the end of the week when everyone’s trying to piece together a pitching staff and put the bat on the ball. Today, we scored a few more runs than they did.”

New Prairie coach Mark Schellinger did not want to blame the conditions for his team’s play.

“Those are plays we have to make,” said Schellinger. “If we do those things then darkness or whatever isn’t an issue. We have to take care of ourselves and control what we can.”

New Prairie scored one two-out run in the bottom of the sixth to cut the lead to 7-5.

Senior Jarrod Michael reached base on a dropped third strike, moved from first to third base on an error and scored on a base-loaded walk issued by sophomore right-hander Ty Gill.

The rally ended when Gill, who had spelled sophomore right-hander and starter Grant Comstock with the bases full, induced an infield pop-up for the third out.

Valparaiso tallied two runs credited to senior right-hander Josh Conley in the top of the sixth for a 7-4 lead.

After two outs, Gill reached on an error. Junior Jack Cahill lashed a single to left.

Junior Terry Busse delivered a two-run double to left to drive in Gill and Cahill.

That’s when junior righty Dimitri Scofield relieved Conley on the mound for the Cougars. Scofield coaxed an inning-ending groundout.

New Prairie cut the gap to 5-4 with one run against Grant Comstock in the bottom of the fifth.

Junior Frank Turley reached on a two-base error and then went to third base on another error. He trotted home on a wild pitch.

The first out was a snag of a line drive by senior second baseman Graham Gonzales on a ball tagged by senior Roman Kuntz.

Valparaiso tallied one run against Conley in the top of the fifth for a 5-3 lead.

Busse broke Conley’s streak of retiring eight straight batters with a two-out single to left.

“We needed that out of Josh,” said Schellinger of Conley. “That’s the best he’s pitched all year. To do that against a Valpo lineup says a lot. He threw strikes, was ahead in the count and kept them

Gonzales then a drew a walk and sophomore Blake Lemmon’s single to left drove in senior courtesy runner Noah Comstock.

It was a 1-2-3 inning for Grant Comstock in the New Prairie fourth with a come-backer to the mound, fly-out and strikeout.

The Vikings went down in order against Conley in top of the fourth with a fly-out, infield pop and groundout.

The Cougars pulled to within 4-3 with two runs against Grant Comstock in the bottom of the third.

Frank Turley led off and reached base by error, moved to second base on a passed ball, advanced to third base on a Kuntz groundout and scored on junior Gavin Kelly’s two-out double to left.

Another two-bagger to left by junior J.C. Turley knocked in Kelly.

After issuing a lead-off walk, Conley struck out three straight batters in a scoreless Valparaiso third.
New Prairie stranded runners at second and third against Grant Comstock in a score-free bottom of the second.

Senior A.J. Bello reached on a fielder’s choice, moved to second base on an error and third base when Grant Comstock pounced on a bouncer to the right side and fired to senior first baseman Zack Zborowski to retire Michael by an eyelash.

Junior Max McCorkel got on by error and moved to second base on Zborowski’s out.

With four unearned runs against Conley in the Viking second, the visitors took a 4-1 lead.

Lemmon (infield pop-up single) and Zborowski (single to left) reached base and both scored on an error made on a ball hit by junior Logan Davidson.

Davidson later scored on an error and the fourth run was made by Gill (on by infield single) on a single to center by senior Michael Jovanovic.

New Prairie tallied the game’s first run in the bottom of the first.

With two outs, senior Hunter Robinson singled a Grant Comstock pitch into left to plate junior Jacob Dockery, who led off the frame with a double to right and moved to third base on Frank Turley’s sacrifice bunt.

Valparaiso left one runner against Conley in a scoreless top of the first.

Jovanovic reached on a two-out error but did not get past first 

All three outs were on fly balls.

South Central (Union Mills) visits New Prairie Saturday, April 13.

Valparaiso goes to Chesterton Tuesday, April 16.