Varsity Baseball | May 29, 2017

Lake Central arms and bats come alive against Highland to win sectional title

UNSTER — If the Lake Central’s baseball team stops at Wendy’s on Saturday before playing in the Class 4A LaPorte Regional, don’t be surprised. But don’t park near these hungry Indians.

A Baconator and a bruised bumper started something for this team a few weeks ago.

L.C. continued its nine-game winning streak on Monday night in the Class 4A Munster Sectional championship game, beating Highland 13-0.

“When we were stopping at a Wendy’s on our way to Jasper, our bus hit a pole,” said L.C. senior pitcher Matt Litwicki, who didn’t allow a run against the Trojans on Monday night. “We haven’t lost a game since that happened.

“We’ve got to stop at Wendy’s before the regional,” senior Ben Nisle said. “We just have to.”

Nisle is committed to Purdue. Litwicki is going to Indiana. But when Nisle launched a deep home run in the first inning, Litwicki got up in the Indians dugout and yelled, “Boiler up.”

“I had to,” he said. “I knew Ben was being Ben there. I knew he could be all that and he was. I’ll worry about college later.”

Nisle finished the game 3-for-3 for Lake Central (23-8), with a homer, two doubles and three RBIs, with two runs. The Indians scored four runs in the second and broke the game open in the fourth, scoring eight.

First-year Indians’ coach Mike Swartzentruber did his homework when he took the job and 1998 was the last time L.C. had gone three years without winning a sectional. Had Highland (21-8) won this game it would’ve been three years in a row without taking the title.

Lake Central will play Penn in the second game at LaPorte on Saturday. The two teams split earlier in the year.

“I wanted to win this so bad,” Litwicki said. “It had been three years for us, losing to Morton two years ago and Munster last year.”

“This was pushing me the whole game,” Nisle said. “I did not want to lose my senior year.”

Ditto for Swartzentruber.

“We addressed that,” Swartzentruber said. “These guys hung with me. We were 14-8 at one point. We were struggling. But now we’ve won nine in a row. I told (Nisle) he would come around. He’s a good hitter. That home run in the first inning set the tone.”

Lake Central’s Tyler Frank added three RBIs. Justin Graves scored twice and doubled home a run. The Indians had nine stolen bases and were very aggressive on the bases.

“That’s a really good team,” Highland coach John Bogner said. “My kids had a great season, I’m so proud of them. We beat Munster three times this year, which hasn’t happened in a long time. I asked our seniors to leave it better than they found it and that is something they did.

“We just want into a very good team tonight.”

Lake Central’s Kyle Freel came in to pitch in the fifth and he struck out the side.

In the morning semifinals, Highland beat Munster 10-0, while L.C. beat Morton 11-0.

Class 4A Munster Sectional


Lake Central 13, Highland 0, 5 inn.


Lake Central 11, Morton 0, 5 inn.

Highland 10, Munster 0, 5 inn.

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