MICHIGAN CITY — After a resounding 8-0 loss in its opener Saturday morning that dropped it to 0-3 in the Midwest Championship, La Porte Post 83 desperately needed something positive to happen in its final pool play game to restore some good vibes going into today's single-elimination bracket tournament.
Proving that Wolves and Slicers can productively co-exist, the combination of Michigan City sophomore Nick Lemon's hitting and La Porte sophomore Nathan Galinowski's pitching carried Post 83 to an 8-2 victory over Bison Baseball on Saturday afternoon at the Marquette Athletic Complex.
"It's been a struggle our first few games," Galinowski said. "We're playing up a bit in this league. Technically, we're a 16U team and this is a 17U tournament. It's nice to get a win under our belt, to know what it feels like."
Keeping hitters off stride with his curve ball, Galinowski yielded two unearned runs over 3 2/3 innings to take advantage of Post 83's hitting outburst as its run total matched its combined output from the prior three games.
"We preach all the time, find your curve ball, and if you can throw it for a first-pitch strike, it puts you on up," coach Kevin McGuire said. "As a pitcher, you're always going to be ahead."
Just the same, the team was glad to notch a 'W' before going into bracket play.
"It's really a confidence builder," said Lemon, whose three hits included a two-run double. "We were seeing the ball better this game. It's contagious. Hopefully, it carries over."
Post 83 broke the game open with four runs in third when it strung five hits to start the frame. Lemon sliced a line drive into the right field corner with the bases loaded, chasing in Luke Swistek and Dominic Miller, and Alex Contreras came home as the relay throw got away. Caeden George then singled in Lemon for a 6-0 lead.
"The coaches are always telling us to look for that first pitch, it's going to be there," Galinowski said. "People got it after the first couple batters. It's the best we've hit so far in the tournament."
Two runs in the fourth ended the game by virtue of the tournament's modified mercy rule. Contreras' misplayed bouncer to short scored Spencer Noveroske and after another Lemon hit, Miller easily beat the shortstop's throw to the plate on George's grounder to end it.
"It's tough competition," McGuire said. "We only have two kids who are going to be 17. The last team, they were all seniors, and 11 or 12 of our 15 are going to be sophomores. But that's going to help us as we go on to state. We've learned a lot about our team chemistry. We've had some tough losses, but you have to learn and grow from it. You learn more from a loss than you do from a win."
Saturday's remaining games determined today's schedule for Post 83, which will have its top arms rested and ready for what it hopes is a long day.
"I think if we play how we did in this game, we'll be perfectly fine," Galinowski said.
La Porte American Legion Post 83 8, Bison Baseball 2
Nick Lemon (Michigan City) had three hits.