MICHIGAN CITY — The drama level was close to an all-time high between conference and county rivals La Porte and Michigan City in a nine-inning duel that saw the Slicers win 4-3 on a catcher obstruction call on Tuesday. But there was no drama to be had in the reverse fixture on Wednesday as the Slicers made the journey onto US-35 to complete a two-game sweep of the Wolves.
Logan Schroeder pitched six shutout innings of five-hit ball and drove in a trio of runs, as the Slicers took control early and put the hammer down late in an 11-0 blowout for their second win in 24 hours over their rivals to the northwest.
“For us, this year especially, a win is a win,” La Porte coach Scott Upp said. “We don’t care how ugly or how pretty it is, a win’s a win. Logan (Schroeder) did a really nice job for us on the mound. We ran the bases well and got some good breaks off of the left-hander (MC starter Bryce Hayman), stealing some bases. Finally, we had some guys come up in some big-time spots where we had runners in scoring position and we actually put the ball in play.”
Wolves starter Bryce Hayman did what he could on the mound by keeping the Slicers off the board in the first three frames. La Porte loaded the bags thanks to a leadoff single by Brock Lipscomb (2-for-3, 2B, BB, 2 SB), Carson Crass (1-for-3, RBI) reaching on a dropped third strike, and a free pass to Jake Spence (1-for-1, 3 BB) with two away, but Hayman fanned Carson Stalbaum (2-for-3, RBI) to end the early threat.
After City missed its golden opportunity with the bases loaded in the home half of the third, the Slicers drew first blood in the fourth when Carson Stalbaum converted on a hit-and-run through the right side and because starting right fielder Chris French couldn’t pick up the ball off the bat, Spence scored all the way from first base to make it 1-0 visitors.
La Porte added a pair of runs to make it 3-0 in the fifth when Lipscomb laced an RBI double to score Zane Eskridge and then morphed into Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez for a few seconds when he successfully stole home to make it 3-0.
“We’ve kinda held him back a bit because we haven’t had the best of years,” Upp said on Lipscomb. “When we’re down 5-0 or something, it’s hard to get people thrown out at second base. Maybe that’s my fault a bit because of as exciting of a player as he is, I should’ve been letting him go the whole time. He can make things happen. There’s no question about it.”
The story of the evening was a lack of execution with runners on base, as the home side left 10 runners on in the contest, including in the home half of the fifth. Seth Long doubled to right and Hayman walked to put two men on with one down, but Schroeder escaped another jam with a punchout and a flyout to left to end the threat.
“We just didn’t get that hit that we needed to,” City coach Jeff Rochowiak said. ”(Schroeder) was a little bit slower and guys were pulling heads and trying to hit the ball too hard at times. We just weren’t capitalizing when we had the opportunities.”
On top of his escape artist exhibitions on the mound in the middle portion of the game that left seven of City’s 10 runners stranded, Schroeder put the early dagger in the Wolves with a two-run single to shallow left that made it a 5-0 game before a six-run explosion for the Slicers commenced on a quartet of hits, including a trio of RBI knocks for Crass, Josh Trim and Connor Stalbaum (2-for-4, RBI) that made it an 11-run game.
“I thought (Bryce) did great today,” Rochowiak said after he pulled his lefty ace following back-to-back walks with nobody out in the seventh. “He only gave up six hits and I told him I couldn’t ask for anything more. If you tell me he’s only given up six hits out of a starter with 10 strikeouts, what can you say?”
Ryne Stormer came in relief of Hayman and didn’t record an out until the sixth hitter he faced when Schroeder smacked a sacrifice fly to score Spence.
“I felt bad for Ryne because I didn’t really give him a chance to warm up fully and he wasn’t quite ready to go out there,” Rochowiak said. “That’s on me. When you look at the score, you’ll see 11-0, but this wasn’t a game that was like that. We were right there the whole way. We just didn’t execute enough today.”
La Porte 11, Michigan City 0
Logan Schroeder pitched six shutout innings with five strikeouts.