Valparaiso scored five times in the seventh and eighth innings
of game one and four times in the seventh of game two to come from behind in
both games and sweep a doubleheader from Butler
7-6 and 6-3 on Sunday afternoon at Emory G. Bauer Field.
(Combined Locks, Wis./Kimberly H.S.) combined to go 5-for-8 with four runs
scored in the twinbill while Matt Lenski
(Milwaukee, Wis./Marquette University H.S.) went 3-for-5 with two doubles and
four RBIs in the opener as the Crusaders moved a season-high six games over
.500 (27-21, 12-10 Horizon), and within a half-game of second place in the
Horizon League heading into the final week of regular season play. Valpo has now won nine of its last 11
contests overall and is 17-6 since April 10.
“When DeBruin makes things
happen at the top of the order, we go,” head coach Tracy Woodson said. “It’s
exciting where we’re at right now.”
In the opener, Butler (11-35, 6-16)
jumped on top in the opening inning on a RBI single by Kyle Schultz. After Valpo answered in the bottom of the
inning with a run-scoring double by Lenski, the Bulldogs added five more runs
over the next three frames to take a 6-1 lead.
Lenski’s second RBI double of
the game in the fifth added Valpo’s second run, scoring DeBruin for the second
time in the game.
The Crusaders tacked on three
more runs in the seventh, starting with a run-scoring single by DeBruin. Lenski’s RBI groundout plated DeBruin, and
later in the inning, Ryan O’Gara (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Buffalo
Grove H.S.) singled home Josh Wallace
(Bellefountaine, Ohio/Bellefountaine H.S.), who had struck
out but reached on a wild pitch with two outs.
(Arlington Heights, Ill./Rolling
Meadows H.S.) led off the eighth with a triple to dead center and scored on Steven Scoby’s (Delton, Mich./Kellogg
H.S.) sacrifice fly to tie the game.
Back-to-back singles by Damon
McCormick (Louisville, Ky./Saint Xavier H.S.) and DeBruin put two runners
on, and with two outs, Lenski dropped a single in shallow right to score
Meanwhile, Steve Godawa (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Buffalo
Grove H.S.) came on in relief in the fourth inning and pitched 4.2 innings of
one hit ball. He struck out three to
earn the win (3-0) while Jarad Miller
(Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll H.S.) pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for
“Godawa was the biggest key
to us winning this game,” Woodson said.
“He held the game right where it was giving us the opportunity to make
DeBruin and Lenski both had
three hits to pace Valpo’s 14-hit attack while Gaedele and McCormick each had
two hits a piece.
Jamie Feldheiser suffered the
loss (2-3) for Butler,
which had 11 hits, including a 3-for-4 performance from Grant Fillipitch.
In game two, McCormick’s
first round-tripper of the season to rightfield gave the Crusaders an early
lead in the third inning. Billy Cribbs (Rochester, Mich./Rochester
H.S.) added to the lead in the fourth with a RBI double that plated Scoby.
Butler tied the game in the sixth, taking advantage of four
walks and an infield single, two of the free passes with the bases loaded. The Bulldogs then took the lead in the
seventh on an error by the Crusaders.
Again Valpo rallied in the
seventh. Andrew Quinnette (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo H.S.) had a RBI single to score DeBruin and Bo McClendon (Chesterton, Ind./Merrillville
H.S.) scored on a passed ball to give the Crusaders the lead. Scoby then added a two-run single with two
outs for insurance on the way to Valpo’s third consecutive victory.
“We don’t give up when we get
behind,” added Woodson. “We had some big
(Fort Wayne, Ind./Concordia Lutheran H.S.) earned the win
(2-0) in relief for the Crusaders while Miller notched his second save of the
day and 16th of the season with another 1-2-3 ninth.
DeBruin and Scoby each had
two hits as the Crusaders overcame three errors in the field.
Matt Sokolowski started and
suffered the loss (1-6) for Butler,
allowing four runs and five hits in 6.1 innings of work.
Valparaiso will next play an exhibition game against the Gary
SouthShore RailCats on Tuesday night at the U.S. Steel Yard in Gary beginning at 6 p.m.