06/02/2019 5:17 PM -
Crestwood, Ill. – June 2, 2019 – Coming off of a tough loss against the Bloomington Bobcats yesterday, the Crestwood Panthers looked to bounce back in substantial fashion during a doubleheader matchup against the DuPage County Hounds. Unfortunately, however, the Panthers struggled at the plate, and in the field, resulting in 10-0 and 5-1 losses, respectively.
In Game One action, the Panthers trailed 1-0 heading into the third inning, before the Hounds scored four runs on three hits and four walks. In the sixth inning, the Hounds struck again for four more runs, courtesy of four walks and two singles. In between the Hounds' two big innings, however, Brock Budzielek (Calumet College / Hobart, Ind.) spun an impressive 3.1 scoreless innings of relief, thus keeping the Panthers in the game until the very end. Out of the team's four pitchers in Game One, Budzielek was the only one to refrain from issuing a walk.
Meanwhile, at the plate, the Panthers recorded five hits in twenty-nine at-bats, equating to a .172 team batting average, yet the Hounds, as a team hit only .241 themselves. As Manager Isaac Valdez stated after the game, errors and walks proved to be a primary difference-maker.
"When we walk so many guys, then add an error, then they get one hit... all of a sudden, we're down three runs. That adds pressure, and it makes our guys feel like they have to turnaround and do too much offensively to make up for it."
Game Two proved to be a much closer contest, as the Panthers only trailed by one run heading into the second inning. Two walks, and a throwing error, however, allowed for the Hounds to tack on three more runs in the second inning, making it 4-0 early on. After scoring one more run via a sacrifice fly, the score stood at 5-0 entering the seventh inning, when Nick Doman (Butler University / Chicago, Ill.) launched a majestic solo home run to deep left field. His big fly served as the team's lone run of the game, and first run of the season. Overall, Doman went two for three at the plate, adding an RBI and run scored.
Starting pitcher Ethan Soderna (Ohio Wesleyan University / Chicago, Ill.) turned in a solid outing, pitching into the sixth inning, while giving up just three earned runs. His performance, which also included five strikeouts against one walk, served as a key reason behind the game's close final score. In relief, Connor McCloskey (Beloit College / Chicago, Ill.) pitched 1.1 scoreless innings.
Despite the positive individual performances in both games, Valdez was unhappy with the end result.
"We've thrown in every ingredient in order to mess up a nice cake," quipped Valdez. "This is not something that I've ever really experienced, scoring only one run across four games. But I think that the more pitches we see, the closer we'll be to getting into a rhythm, which will help us score more runs and win more ballgames."
When asked about possible changes being made to the lineup after struggling out of the gate, Valdez bluntly expressed his thoughts on the situation.
"At this point, change is something that should be expected. That being said, every position player has already seen the field this season. So, everyone's played, but no one has produced so far. Now, tomorrow is a new day, with a new challenge, and hopefully, it will bring us a different ending."
The Panthers will take on the Joliet Generals tomorrow from Joliet Junior College in Joliet, Ill. Coverage starts at 5 pm on the Panthers Broadcasting Network, which is available via Facebook Live.