Onward and upward
UNION MILLS — Before South Central’s 13-0 romp over Westville on April 26, Blackhawks coach Chris Piasky’s gameplan was just like any other team that plays against the Satellites: don’t let Carson Husmann and Kyle Schmack be the ones that beat you on that day.
They didn’t back in April, and the Satellites still won 13-0 in five innings, so you can probably imagine how things went when Husmann was right in the thick of things for the Satellite offense in their 12-2 six-inning win over the Blackhawks on Tuesday to advance to today’s semifinals in the Porter County Conference Tournament against Washington Township.
“When we played them the first time, we knew that we didn’t want Carson or Kyle being the ones that beat us,” Piasky said. “Carson beat us today, but that’s the thing, though. This lineup, one through nine, can beat you. They are a very tough squad to throw against. It’s not just those two, although they’re both very good players. Their whole lineup is full of good players. They’re a good team. We’re trying to get there.”
Husmann popped out to the mound in his first at-bat and walked in his second, but blasted home runs to left field in his final two plate apperances to cap his final home game with the Satellites along with the other five seniors on the roster, while Schmack reached in three of his four plate appearances and scored a pair of runs.
“A perfect gameplan would be to intentionally walk Carson Husmann and Kyle Schmack four times,” Piasky said with a smile. “They didn’t beat us the first time. It was the bottom five guys that did the damage for them, but that’s the thing with them. You can’t just plan for those two. You really have to plan ahead for every hitter one through nine with them and it’s tough.”
The start of the contest was promising for the Blackhawks, scoring the game’s first run off two Satellite errors, and would’ve scored another had Husmann not gunned down starter Preston Lake at the plate on a liner into short left center with two away.
After going down in order in the first, the Satellites took advantage of Westville’s own mistakes, using a trio of Blackhawk mishaps to take a 3-1 lead after two and didn’t look back. Karson Bailey ripped RBI sacrifice flies in his first two at-bats, while Trent Smoker and BJ Intagliata (2-for-3, 2 SB, 2 runs) drilled back-to-back RBI singles in a four-run third inning that featured the third of seven Westville errors and basically put the game out of reach for the visitors early.
“It was a good ‘Senior Night’ tonight,” Satellites coach Ryan Kruszka said. “We came out and got the job done, got some guys some at-bats and executed where we had to. The first inning was a bit sluggish. We booted the first ball of the game, but we turned it around and came back. Trent Smoker was throwing strikes as usual. The bats came alive, got some good bunts down early. When we’re at the point early in the game where you don’t really know what the game’s gonna be like. You have to get runs when you can. As much as you want to let guys go up and hit, but if I can’t move guys over to second and third base and it’s a 2-1 game later, you’re kicking yourself in the foot.”
Smoker got the ball to start and pitched five innings of two-hit ball, didn’t walk a batter and struck out six, while Husmann pitched a scoreless sixth frame to shut things down.
Evan Walters reached base with one away in the fourth, setting the scene for Husmann to demolish a first-pitch breaking ball over South 600 West, the road that runs behind the ballpark on the S.C. campus to make it a 9-2 contest and then pummeled a 3-1 fastball in the sixth to help the Satellites punch their ticket to today’s semifinals an inning early.
“We told the boys coming in that we have to field the ball just like they do, we have to hit just like they do,” Piasky said. “We knew it was going to come down to who fielded the ball the cleanest, and we made six or seven errors and it got away from us a bit. It seemed like one inning got us early there, we dropped our heads and we felt like the game was over.”
As for the Satellites, they’ll move on to face a tough Washington Township bunch for the second time this year, winning a tight 3-2 contest at the U.S. Steel Yard in Gary over the Senators on Apr. 22, but Tuesday, specifically the post-game photo session behind home plate, was more about a celebration of one of the most successful senior classes in S.C. history.
“They leave their own individual mark,” Kruszka said on his six seniors. “They each have their own way of putting a spin on things and there’s things you can say them and that they can really react to. Every team and every group of seniors leaves their mark and we want them to do that. As much as we have a program here, but we do like when kids are individuals and can do their own thing. I’m really proud of this group for that. They’ve really stepped up as leaders and they’ve taken the initiative to lead younger guys. They’re helping at practice and that helps breed more leaders.”
Porter County Conference Tournament
South Central 12, Westville 2
Carson Husmann cracked a pair of home runs for the host Satellites.