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SEMINOLES FALL IN AABC REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP TO OHIO THUNDER

Thursday, July 26, 2012 • POSTED BY:  Director of Baseball Operations

Seminoles vs. Ohio Thunder

In a rematch of Wednesday morning, a game in which Hammond won 7-2, this time with a bid to the AABC World Series in Texas on the line, it was the Hammond Seminoles taking on the Ohio Thunder in the championship game. Brandon Roeske (Chesterton) retired the first three hitters in the top half of the first innings working on 2 days of rest. Hammond was retired in order in the bottom half. In the second inning, pitching around two singles, Roeske coaxed three groundball outs to throw another scoreless frame. David Hladek (Munster) led off the Noles half of the inning with a walk and then went first to third on a 1-out single by Austin Vander Zanden (Chesterton). But an akward head first slide into third resulted in an apparent dislocated shoulder for Hladek and he had to be removed from the game and taken to the emergency room. Jimmy Skiff (Andrean) entered the game for Hladek and scored on a single by Frank Podkul (Andrean) but that would be their only run in the inning and Hammond was without their hottest hitter. Roeske wasn't quite as sharp in the third inning after the long injury delay but was again unscored upon. Hammond was retired in order. Roeske issued a walk, then a single, and then threw a wild pitch in the 4th inning but made a clutch 2-out pitch to keep it a 1-0 game. Vander Zanden singled with 1 out in the bottom of the 4th and stole second but Hammond couldn't come up with the big hit to get him in and the score remained. Hammond allowed two freebies to start the 5th, which is never a good thing, and Roeske was lifted in favor of Jonathan Azar (Munster) who also threw Monday and recorded 2 outs in a game on Wednesday as well. The first batter he faced had a bunt single and the bases were loaded with nobody out and the 3-4-5 hitters were due up. Azar got a groundball to Vander Zanden, playing first base after Hladek's injury, and "VZ" was able to get the lead runner at home. Bases loaded, 1 out, and the clean up hitter up next. This was to be the pivotal at-bat of the game. All the runners moved up a base on a wild pitch early in the count and the game was tied 1-1. With first base open and a 3-1 count on the #4 hitter, the Ohio Thunder hit a double that one hopped the fence in left and the score was now 3-1. Another wild pitch and an error led to another run and the top half of the 5th ended with Hammond trailing by 3. Matt Dvorscak (Whiting) led off the bottom of the inning with a single but then Hammond grounded into a double play and the inning was over two batters later. Azar went back out for the 6th inning and, despite striking out 2 more batters, a 1-out walk, then a stolen base, and a 2-out double led to another Thunder run. But the Seminoles would not go quietly. Alex Vode (Andrean) doubled to start the inning and Vander Zanden's third single of the game drove him in. Podkul followed with a walk and Hammond had first and second and nobody out. Brandon Garcia (Griffith), attempting a bunt for base hit, was unsuccessful in getting himself on but got the runners over for what was scored a sacrifice. The next batter grounded out to the pitcher and the baserunners held. Shortly thereafter, "VZ" would score on a wild pitch but that would be the end of the rally. Now the score was Thunder 5, Seminoles 3. Skiff came in to pitch the 7th. Working on one day of rest, Skiff was not at his sharpest but helped his cause with a pickoff and pitched around three freebies to hold the Thunder at 5. Corey Rusboldt (Chesterton) reached on an error to start the bottom of the 7th but three consecutive groundball outs ended any shot at a comeback and the Ohio Thunder advanced to Texas with a 5-3 victory over the Hammond Seminoles (24-20-1). 

Seminoles vs. Cincinnati Heat

With three teams remaining, the Seminoles (24-19-1) drew the short stick and were forced to play a second game while the Ohio Thunder got a bye to the championship on Thursday. Hammond starter Austin Vander Zanden (Chesterton) only lasted 2 2/3 but didn't give up any runs before giving way to Frank Podkul (Andrean) who got the win in relief after throwing 3 1/3 scoreless innings. Each pitcher surrendered only one hit. On offense, Larry Crisler (Bishop Noll) had 3 hits to go along with his 2 runs and 2 RBI. Alex Vode (Andrean) had yet another multi-hit game including 3 RBI and a double. Jimmy Skiff (Andrean) walked twice and Hammond went on to win 8-0 in 6 innings.

Seminoles vs. Ohio Thunder

Taking on the last undefeated team in the tournament, Hammond (23-19-1) turned to Matt Dvorscak (Whiting) to keep their season alive. After going 9 1/3 innings of hitless baseball going back to his last start, Dvorscak gave up his first hit of the game with 1 out in the 5th inning. Dvorscak went 6 1/3 innings allowing 1 earned run on 3 hits to go with 8 strikeouts. Alex Vode (Andrean) had 2 more hits including a double. Jaylen Yarbrough (Bishop Noll) walked twice and Larry Crisler (Bishop Noll) and Frank Podkul (Andrean) both doubled. Jonathan Azar (Munster) recorded the final two outs in the Hammond 7-2 win.

Seminoles vs. Midland

Once again on the brink of elimination, this time against the tournament favorite Midland team, the Hammond Seminoles (22-19-1) were victorious 5-0 behind performances from Jimmy Skiff (Andrean) and David Hladek (Munster). Skiff threw all 7 innings of the shutout and only faced 2 hitters over the minimum thanks in part to his defense. Rob Long (Andrean)and threw out two would be base stealers and Hammond turned a 9-3 double play. Skiff struck out 4. David Hladek continued on his tear by going 4 for 4 (a hit in 8 consecutive at-bats). One of those hits was a double, he scored 3 times and stole 2 bases. Alex Vode (Andrean) also had 2 hits and 2 RBI.

Seminoles vs Ohio Heat

Facing elimination, Hammond (21-19-1) relied on the big, right arm of Brandon Roeske (Chesterton) to stay alive. Roeske delivered with a 5 inning shutout in which he only allowed 3 baserunners. Larry Crisler (Bishop Noll) and David Hladek (Munster) each went 3 for 3. Crisler scored 3 times and drove in a run and Hladek scored twice, doubled, drove in a run and stole a base. Brandon Garcia (Griffith) had the big blow in the game with a 2-out, bases loaded triple. He also walked and stole a base and Alex Vode (Andrean) drove in 2. Final score in 5 innings was Hammond 8, Ohio Heat 0.

Seminoles vs Hamilton (Ohio)

In their first game of double elimination, the Hammond Seminoles (20-19-1) lost to Hamilton (Ohio) 2-1. Jonathan Azar (Munster) went the distance allowing 2 earned runs on 5 hits and 6 strikeouts in 6 innings. Larry Crisler (Bishop Noll) had 2 hits, a run and a stolen base. Austin Vander Zanden (Chesterton) had 2 hits and Alex Vode (Andrean) walked twice.