July 13, 2023

Corn Dogs Assert League Dominance, Look Forward to Weekend Homestand

By Noel Fary and Jim Masters

The 22-10 Lake County Corn Dogs are in first place — and a strong contender to repeat as Northern League champs.

More tests are to come, as the Corn Dogs have a crucial three-game homestand beginning Friday (July 14). First pitch is 7 p.m. for games on Friday and Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are available in advance at corndogsbaseball.com/tickets/.

Homestand Promotions Announced

  • On Friday, the Corn Dogs will host ABRA Inc., a foster care rescue group dedicated to sheltering pets. They will have pets at the field which people can adopt.
  • On Saturday, the Corn Dogs host Bishop Noll Institute, and groups from Relay for Life Lake County and Lean Kitchen will attend.
  • On Sunday, the Corn dogs celebrate Christian’s Dream Day, a nonprofit youth sports organization in honor of Christian Villarreal, who died tragically in an automobile accident at a young age.
  • On Tuesday, July 18, the Corn Dogs celebrate “Christmas in July.” 
  • On Thursday, July 20, the Corn Dogs sponsor First Responders Night.

“While we’re winning plenty of games and our guys have been on fire lately, we’re also living up to our organization’s focus on ‘building community through baseball,’” Majority Owner Ralph Flores said. “We’re fortunate to have groups like ABRA Inc., Christian’s Dream Day, Bishop Noll and our first responders coming to our ballpark. Next Thursday, our Christmas in July celebration will be a lot of fun.”

12 Corn Dogs Players Named to All-Star Team

In their second season, the Corn Dogs have continued to excel on the ball field, reflected in their league honors and selection to the Northern League All-Star Game. Corn Dogs Manager Justin Huisman will lead the East Team all-stars for the game on July 18 at Oil City Stadium in Whiting. The game will be broadcast on JED-TV, AM 1230 WJOB, Region Sports Network and Facebook Live.

The 2022 Northern League champions, will send 12 players to the game:

  • Ranko Stevanovic – North Park College/Chicago, Ill.
  • Kevin Hall – Grambling University/ Munster, Ind.
  • Shane Jones – South Suburban College / Homewood, Ill.
  • Hayden Matulich – Purdue University Northwest / San Jose, Calif.
  • Scott Hansen – Toledo University / Portage, Ind.
  • Ethan Nielson – Indiana Tech / Rolling Prairie, Ind.
  • Adam Walters – South Suburban College/ Schererville, Ind.
  • Ryan Troxel – Indiana Tech / Valparaiso, Ind.
  • Dylan Matusak – Heidelberg University / Crown Point, Ind.
  • Sean Kasper – Purdue University Fort Wayne / Chesterton, Ind.
  • Ivan Balboa – Ivy Tech / Hobart, Ind.
  • Gavin Gallagher – Florida National / Kishwaukee College/ Hobart, Ind.)

Former Corn Dog Ray Hilbrich would have been a cinch to make the all-star team, but earlier this season he became the organization’s first professional signee when the 23-year-old Schererville resident and Lake Central High School graduate inked a contract with the Birmingham Bloomfield Beavers of the Michigan-based United Shore Professional Baseball League (USPBL).

Corn Dogs Win Battle for First Place

The Corn Dogs snapped a four-game losing streak against the NWI Oilmen on Tuesday by putting up one of their best pitching performances of the year.

After a brief rain delay, the game began in quick fashion, with both starting pitchers mowing through hitters. Harrison Dubois received his second start of the year for the Corn Dogs, pitching a near flawless game through four innings. Dubois gave up two hits, no runs and collected five strikeouts, leaving the Oilmen offense completely silent.

Check out the box score from the game.

Aaron Buckholtz received the start for the Oilmen, but after throwing two scoreless innings he felt the pressure from the Corn Dogs offense.

The Corn Dogs went up 2-0 when Gavin Terry singled to send Owen Winters across the plate, and a bases-loaded walk brough another run home.

The game stayed even until the seventh inning, thanks to shutout relief pitching from Eric Santaguida, who earned Macron Player of the Game. He got the win, giving up only one hit and no runs.

Corn Dogs Manager Justin Huisman had high praise for his pitchers, saying, “They both threw very, very well. Both of them, their pitch counts were very low.”

The Corn Dogs grabbed two more runs in the bottom of the seventh after a wild pitch and sacrifice fly, putting them up 4-0. The Oilmen threatened late, scoring two runs in the top of the ninth, but the Corn Dogs shook off the attack and beat the Oilmen for the first time since they swept them in three games to start the 2023 season.

Corn Dogs Drop One to Miracle, Remain in First

The Corn Dogs lost on the road to the Elkhart County Miracle on Thursday, 14-9, after taking a large lead early on but failing to put away Miracle batters near the end of the game.

Seven straight Corn Dogs batters reached in the top of the seventh, taking a 4-0 lead off plenty of base hits and free passes. Doug Loden capped off the inning with a pop up that fell out of the glove of Miracle second baseman Cole Mason, scoring two more runs and advancing the lead to 6-0.

Check out the box score from the game.

Adam Walters received his second start of the season, throwing two scoreless innings to start the game. The Miracle tightened their approach at the plate as the game went on, extending Walter’s pitch count and tying the ball game, 6-6 through the bottom of the fifth.

While the Corn Dogs started the game hot on offense, they fizzled in innings other than the top of the second.

After struggling to string hits together as a team, Ranko Stevanovic stepped up to bat with two base runners on. Stevanovic hit the Corn Dog’s first ever Grand Slam at the Miracle the previous week, and went back over the left field wall, giving the Corn Dogs a 9-6 lead.

The Miracle did not let the lead stop their momentum, scoring six in the bottom of the sixth inning, and holding their lead for the rest of the game, going on to win the game 14-9.


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