Gorch on the Porch: Must-see baseball and softball this week

Photo by Robb QuinnMarquette's Stacey Barron flips the ball to first baseman Abbey Grusak in the fourth inning of the Blazers' 3-2 victory over South Central last week. The Blazers added a game against Michigan City on Friday to end the regular season.

We got a good old-fashioned dogfight in the Duneland Conference baseball standings, and I’m not just saying that because the Crown Point Bulldogs are involved.

The 2016-17 high school sports season is winding down as the spring has reached its postseason. Track and field sectionals are this week — girls at Chesterton on Tuesday, boys at Portage on Thursday. The girls tennis sectional at La Porte on Wednesday and Thursday looks to be ultra competitive with all fours teams — Michigan City, La Porte, New Prairie and Marquette — owning an optimistic outlook to a title.

But in one of the sports that start their postseason in a week, there’s plenty of drama left.

There are just two games left in the Duneland Conference baseball schedule and all of our local teams are involved with an extremely close race for the top.

La Porte is going for its first DAC title since 2010 and will host Chesterton on Tuesday and travel to the Trojans’ home field on Wednesday. Chesterton is tied with the Slicers and going for their first DAC title since 2013.

Oh, that’s not all. Crown Point is also tied for first with La Porte and Chesterton, and the Bulldogs will face Merrillville on Tuesday and Wednesday. And just to throw one more bit of drama into the mix, Lake Central is just one game behind those three, and will face Michigan City on Tuesday (at LC) and Wednesday at MC).

It seems like the Bulldogs have an inside track to at least a share of the title since they are definitely a better team than the Pirates, while the Slicers and Trojans are very evenly matched. But you never know in high school baseball. If a CP pitcher has a bad day, Merrillville hitters could have a good day and give La Porte and Chesterton a gift.

The Wolves, who are playing well lately with four wins in the past 10 days, can eliminate the Indians from contention with an upset in either game between those two.

Normally I wouldn’t openly promote you spending your hard-earned money, but even if you don’t have kids on these teams, the Michigan City and La Porte games over the next two days should be plenty entertaining and worth the five or six dollars.

• Still waiting on boys basketball: Let's not forget about softball, which also ends its regular season this week. And while Michigan City and La Porte don’t have much to shoot for before sectionals arrive, there are a couple interesting tidbits this week.

The Slicers have four home games this week — yes, that’s a lot — including Chesterton on Tuesday and John Glenn on Friday. Oh, and all of them will be broadcast on WEFM-95.9, just in case you can’t attend any of them.

Michigan City has struggled this season, to say the least. But like Wolves’ baseball, the softball team is playing better lately with its two wins coming over the last couple weeks. And they added a game on Friday to replace a rainout. The Wolves will be hosting crosstown rival Marquette.

Yes, it’s another sport in which the Wolves and Blazers face. They were scheduled to play earlier in the season in baseball. They also faced off in tennis, golf — both fall and spring — and soccer, both boys and girls.

They also play in girls basketball with another matchup confirmed on the schedule next year at the Scholl Center this time.

But when it comes to boys basketball, the two schools are still not playing each other when that’s the one everyone wants. Well, almost everyone. Fans want it, players want it, and even the athletic directors seem to want it.

“The (softball) coaches originally talked about it and neither Craig (Shaman, Michigan City A.D.) or we had a problem adding it,” Marquette assistant A.D. Brad Collignon said. “Our relationship with Craig is a good one. Obviously the boys basketball thing predates both of us.”

And it’s ongoing.

“Boys basketball is the only sport that won’t play,” Shaman said. “I’ll just say in general it’s the coach’s call.”

Whose fault is it? Depends on whom you ask. City coach John Boyd has told me it’s on Marquette, while former Blazers’ coach Donovan Garletts has pointed the proverbial finger at Boyd.

But there could be a sliver of hope because if there was any animosity between Boyd and Garletts, it shouldn’t matter anymore because the latter is now an assistant superintendent in Greencastle and his assistant, Fred Mooney, is the new head coach.

So here’s my request for Mooney and Boyd right now: Get together and work it out!

Your two teams are the outliers here as the only Marquette and City programs that won’t play. That makes you the problem and it doesn’t matter where the fault lies. I’m an expert on stubbornness — just ask my wife of 23 years — and I know it when I see it. Stop being stubborn and schedule a game for next season … NOW!

Reach sports editor Steve T. Gorches at sgorches@thenewsdispatch.com or (219) 214-4206. Follow him on Twitter @SteveTGorches.

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