2018 Renegade HS Baseball Week-4 Poll for Northwest Indiana

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith


Andrean still hasn't lost to an Indiana school yet this season. The 59ers visit Crown Point Saturday morning, May 5 at 11 a.m. (Photo by Mark Smith)

MERRILLVILLE (4-24-2018) It's still not warm. It's still not baseball weather. But the teams can't wait any longer and the boys are making some semi-regular appearances. The last week of April appears to have all playable days but I've said that before.

I've been disappointed that two newspapers, the LaPorte Herald and the Lafayette Journal and Courier, which used to print complete box scores for high school baseball, have stopped doing that. As baseball fans can tell you, a complete player by player box score (similar to what you see from major league baseball games) is invaluable and tells the complete story of any game.

I know too well that newspapers do not have the staffs they once did and that accurate box scores take time. But no 'game story' accurately covers the details of a baseball game. There's just too many.

Some newspapers have some box scores on-line but on-line box scores are often a disaster of spacing and end up being an unreadable mess.

The GameChanger sports service is good with box scores for the schools that choose to use it. The problems with GameChanger is that many schools don't bother with it and that most schools do not make cumulative statistics available to non-team members. The Max Preps service is worse with box scores, but better with statistics, for the schools that bother to use it.

I'm not naive. Good programs and teams that win tend to use GameChanger and Max Preps. Losing programs do not want to 'broadcast' that they have losing teams, so they do not make details and statistics available. The many times I've written on this subject, I still don't have a good reason why, if your team is 5-20, why you should put all your statistics on line and let everybody see all the details. I wish you would but I understand why you don't.

For those teams and programs who do make box scores and statistics available, I want to say that, for the old folks who can't make it to 4:30 p.m. games but are following batter-by-batter on their devices, we thank you.

In Noblesville this Saturday morning, Noblesville (7-8) takes on Terre Haute North (6-4) and Crown Point (7-3) faces undefeated St. Xavier (13-0) of Louisville, Kentucky in the semifinals of the 4-team Noblesville Miller Invitational.

I've seen polls which have St. Xavier ranked No. 1 in the state of Kentucky and No. 14 in the nation. The championship game in Noblesville is set for 6:30 p.m. EDT.

1. (3A) Andrean (11-1)
26-9 (2017), 26-6 (2016), 30-6 (2015), 31-4 (2014), 27-3-1 (2013)

MERRILLVILLE: It was a good week for the 59ers. The only loss so far is still the 8-6 in nine innings to Grace Christian high (8-4-1) of Franklin, Tennessee on a spring break trip two weeks ago. Joel Holtcamp struck out 10 in six innings as the 59ers topped Illiana Christian 9-4 Saturday. Clay Thompson had two hits and three RBIs. Luke Blanco gave up six hits in six innings in a 5-3 win over Illiana. Some places will show Andrean with 12 wins but I believe that the 59ers' double-header against Hebron was a varsity-junior varsity date and only one win counts. I'm looking forward to the May 5 Andrean game at neighbor Crown Point (7-3), always a good time. And yes, I believe the Sean Manaea who graduated Andrean after pitching on the state championship team in 2010 is the same Sean Manaea who pitched a no-hit game for the Oakland Athletics against Boston late Saturday night.

2. (4A) Lake Central (8-2)
23-9 (2017), 27-5 (2016), 25-5-1 (2015), 23-10 (2014), 23-9 (2013), 32-1 (2012)

ST. JOHN: LC split a 'very big school' double-header with Penn Saturday losing 5-4 and winning 11-1. Penn scored three runs in the seventh to win the first game before a seven run first inning made the nightcap a five-inning game. Jared Bais has a double, two hits and two RBIs in the 10-run victory. Lake Central has lost 10-7 to Portage and 5-4 to Penn but they have two wins over rivals Crown Point (7-4) boosting them to the top of the Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) after half the league season. LC has also swept two from Merrillville and Portage to go to 6-0 in the DAC. LC's two games with LaPorte (8-4) come next week, May 1-2.

3. (4A) Chesterton (8-3)
19-9 (2017), 19-10 (2016), 16-16 (2015), 15-12 (2014), 20-6 (2013)

CHESTERTON: Chesterton has dominated everyone but Crown Point. They've lost to the Bulldogs 8-7 and 5-0. The Trojans have swept Portage 8-1 and 6-2 and they have topped Valparaiso 11-0 and 10-0. Senior Austin Peterson (2-0, 0.54) has 21 strikeouts in his first 11 innings. 6-foot-7 senior Senior Brayden Cortwright (2-0, 0.54 ERA) allowed a total of five base hits in his first two starts.
The Trojans are two games behind Lake Central in Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) play but they still have a share of first place within reach if they can beat the contenders they have left to play. Chesterton plays LaPorte (9-4) May 8-9 and they take on Lake Central (8-2) May 15-16. The Trojans have the pitching to handle those back-to-back games against winning teams.

4. (4A) Crown Point (7-3)
19-9 (2017), 19-9 (2016), 25-6 (2015), 17-13 (2014), 7-17 (2013)

CROWN POINT: CP had a big week as junior Ryan Fender shut out Michigan City 1-0 and senior right hander Ryan Bolda shut out Chesterton 5-0. Fender struck out 10 and threw just 91 pitches.
Bolda struck out seven and threw 92 pitches. Neither pitcher walked a batter. Senior Ben Fridrich had a triple and two RBIs. CP gave up 17 runs in two games against Lake Central (8-2), but the two shutouts last week gave the Bulldog pitching staff four shutouts in 10 games. The Bulldogs take on LaPorte (9-4) April 24-25 and they travel to play St. Xavier of Louisville (14-0) in the Noblesville Invitational April 27-28. CP takes on Valparaiso (5-3) May 1-2. CP hosts Andrean (11-1) on May 5 and they will face McCutcheon (8-2) and Plymouth on the final day of the regular season.

5. (4A) LaPorte (9-4)
22-9 (2017), 19-9 (2016), 25-6 (2015), 17-13 (2014), 7-17 (2013)

LaPORTE: LaPorte has lost to Logansport (7-6), Valparaiso (5-3), John Glenn (5-1) and Portage. But wins 9-7 over Plymouth and 7-6 in eight innings over Goshen on Saturday (4-21-18) ended a solid week. Josh Trimm was 3-for-4 in the 9-7 win and Will Malekovic was 3-for-4 in the 7-6 victory. Gabe Silfa's sacrifice fly broke a 6-6 tie. The Slicers take on Crown Point (7-3) twice this week and they have a May 8-9 two-game week with Chesterton (8-3). The Slicers have been winning, but it's fair to say they've been allowing a few too many runs when top left-hander Chandler Banic isn't pitching.

6. (3A) Griffith (7-3)
15-15 (2017), 16-14 (2016), 16-13 (2015), 0-0 (2014)

GRIFFITH: Johnny Maynard (2-0, 0.62), Julian Rutherford (2-1, 1.67 ERA) and Drew Davenport (2-0, 1.83 ERA) are giving the Panthers enough pitching to have a decent shot to win every game.
Juniors Abe Wright (13 of 26, .500), Cole Cervantes (19 of 36, .528), Jeremy Maynard (15 of 25, .600), and Gabe Pulido (12 of 24, .500) are putting up big numbers, especially in league play. Griffith's team batting average is near the .400 mark and, as it is with Hanover, they get a little boost in the pitching-weak GSSC. I'm not sure the Panthers (7-3) are as good as Munster (5-3) or Valparaiso (5-3), but I'm not sure they aren't just yet. The Panthers are 6-0 in the Greater South Shore Conference (GSSC) and they're probably looking ahead to the back-to-back league games against Hanover Central on May 14-15.

2017 (0-0), 2016 (19-11), 2015) 25-5 (2014) 23-6 (2013) 20-5

CEDAR LAKE: Hanover finally lost a game, 11-6 to McCutcheon (8-2) Friday (4-20-2018), but that game probably had more value than some of their earlier wins. Right-hander Bobby Nowak (1-0, 0.64) gave up two runs in five innings against McCutcheon, but he has 17 strikeouts in his first 11 innings pitched. Evan Momcilovic (7 of 17, .412) and Mike Biegel (6 of 15, .40) are off to good starts, but until they can play more often, nobody will really know if they are good or just promising. HC got Lake Central (8-2) on the schedule for a 10 a.m. May 12 Saturday game and they play a 7 p.m. night game at Munster (5-3) on May 18. The showdowns with new Greater South Shore Conference (GSSC) rival Griffith (7-3) are 5 p.m. starts on May 14-15.

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Revised: April 24, 2018.