Portage Indians Celebrate Road Trip With Central Invitational Title

Seven-Run Fifth Keys 7-2 Victory Over Cleveland Blue Raiders

Saturday, March 30, 2013 - by John Hunt

The Portage Indians made their long road trip from northern Indiana worthwhile after claiming victory in the annual Central Invitational baseball tournament that concluded at Central's Gene Lively Stadium Saturday night.

The Indians come from a small town about 30 miles south of Chicago.  When they left town on Wednesday, there was nearly a foot of snow on the ground.  While folks in the Chattanooga area have been complaining about the cooler-than-average beginning of spring, those folks from Portage must have felt like they were on a summer vacation.

The tournament started on Thursday at Central and Hixson and every game escaped the predicted rain except for the last one.

Tournament officials knew that rain was coming, so the start time was pushed up from the scheduled 7:30 start until 6.  Dark clouds started moving in about the time the first pitch was thrown and the rain had started to fall in the third inning.

It only got harder as the game progressed and umpires called it official after five innings with the Indiana visitors leading the Cleveland Blue Raiders by a 7-2 final.

"I'm glad we were able to get the game in, although it wasn't the best situation with the rain," said Portage coach Tim Pirowski after the game had been declared official.

"It was getting nasty out there, but I'm pleased with how we handled such an adverse situation.  We finally got some big hits and I thought C.J. (Haupt) did a good job in relief of throwing strikes.

"We won't get on the bus for that 10-hour trip until Sunday morning, but we'll just go back to the motel, get some pizza and celebrate winning this tournament," the coach concluded with a smile.

The Indians have done a lot of practicing indoors up to this point, but Thursday's game with Sheffield (Alabama) was their first of the season.  They added a win over Morristown on Friday morning before losing to Masters Academy (a team from the Orlando, Florida area) that night.

A win over the host Central Purple Pounders on Saturday afternoon put them in the championship game against the Blue Raiders.

Cleveland scored single runs in the first and second inning and were cruising right along until the Indians came up in the top of the fifth.

Sending a dozen hitters to the plate, Portage used five hits, three walks, one hit batter and a Cleveland error to score seven runs.

Haupt got things started by getting hit on a 1-2 count.  Sam Schest then dropped a near-perfect bunt, but the throw to first sailed into the right-field corner as Haupt scooted around to score the first run.

Patrick Derr's infield single plated Schest before Chris Klenk grounded to second for the first out of the inning.  Kevin Jones walked before Eric Masarch and Tyler Soberg ripped run-scoring doubles.  Peter Psomadelis drove in another with an infield single deep to short and he later scored the final run on a wild pitch.

By this point, puddles were forming behind first and third and the infield was beginning to get muddy.

Cleveland's Austin Dykes led off the Blue Raiders half of the fifth by reaching on an error by the Portage second baseman, but Haupt got Kimsey Bell to fly out to left before ending the game on a pair of strikeouts.

Cleveland coach Ted Carson would have liked for the game to have continued, but his plea fell on deaf ears.

"It's no worse now than when we were out there in the last inning, but we don't have control over that call.  We've had a great week and played a lot of really good baseball.  Too bad we had to get all of this rain before the game ended," he said matter of factly.

Bell had a one-out single in the first and scored on a single by Taylor Thompson.  Reed Allison walked with two outs in the second and scored on a throwing error by Portage starting pitcher Tyler Kniola.

The Blue Raiders got back-to-back hits from Michael Henderson and Jalen Lawson in the fourth, but Haupt ended that threat by getting a grounder to third for the second out and then a swinging strike from Ryan Adkins to end the inning.

Portage finished the abbreviated game with eight hits.  Derr was the only Indian with two.

Cleveland finished with five hits.

While the Indians head home on Sunday, they hope to play their first regular-season game on Tuesday.  Cleveland will play at Walker Valley on Monday in a key District 5-AAA game.

Portage is now 4-1 for the year while Saturday's loss leaves Cleveland at 8-9 overall.

Portage   000 07 -- 7 8 2

Cleveland  110 00 -- 2 5 1

Kniola, Haupt (3) and Klenk; Earle, Ramsey (4), Nichols (5) and Plumb.

(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@comcast.net)


Lookouts Keep Rolling With 3-1 Win Over M-Braves Saturday

Edgar Corcino and the Lookouts pitching staff combined to send Chattanooga fans home happy on Fan Appreciation Night with a 3-1 win over the Mississippi Braves.  Corcino tripled in two runs to start the scoring in home half of the fourth Saturday. Ryan Walker and Travis Harrison came home to score on the big hit and gave the Lookouts a lead they would hold the rest of the ... (click for more)

Dalton State Women's Soccer Defeats Johnson & Wales University 4-2

The Dalton State women’s soccer team did it again. The Lady Roadrunners found themselves down by 2-0 at halftime against Johnson & Wales University (Fl.) “After making some adjustments during the break, I could tell the girls were fired up and hungry and I had a great feeling we would win the game,” said DS Coach Kerem Daser. “I guess you can call my ladies the comeback ... (click for more)

Family Forced From Home After Storm Blows Tree Onto House

As a severe thunderstorm blew through the Chattanooga area Sunday afternoon, high winds knocked down a large tree onto a house around  4 p.m.  at 1105 E. 13th Street. Captain David Thompson, Jr. said no one was injured, but the damage was severe enough that the family would have to stay elsewhere  tonight . Volunteers with the American Red Cross of Southeast ... (click for more)

Michael Wilson Back In Bradley County; Due In Court On Monday

Michael Wilson is back in Bradley County, and was escorted into the Correctional Facility around 8:15 p.m. Wilson’s first appearance in court will be on Monday, at 9 a.m. in the Bradley County General Sessions Courtroom at the Judicial Complex at 2290 Blythe Ave. Wilson was arrested last week, after e ndangered Bradley County child Skyla Wilson was found safe in Colorado ... (click for more)

Pedestrians Have The Right Of Way - And Response (3)

Often I visit Gold's Gym at Chestnut and 4th Street. I  park in the theater parking lot at Broad and 4th Street.  I depend on the walk signs to get me there safely.  Most days I almost get hit by someone turning left or right coming from the exit ramp off 27 or turning right on 4th street from Chestnut. This happened yesterday as I was almost mowed down by a garbage ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Girls - ‘I Can And I Will’

Every night after the Rodriguez girls went to sleep not that long ago in a grim, rat-infested basement apartment on Chicago’s South Side, their father – a boxing referee who came to America from Puerto Rico -- would kneel beside the girls’ bed and whisper in each child’s ear. Their parents made them sleep hot-dog style, tightly wrapped in the same sheet and pressed together to protect ... (click for more)