06/08/2018 1:15 AM -
Midlothian, Ill. – June 7, 2018 – The Panthers had their opportunities, but they could not bring runners in to score when it mattered most as they lost a nail biter to the Joliet Generals 4-3 in 10 innings.
The Panthers jumped out to a 2-0 lead against Generals starter Ryan Czajkowski (Moraine Valley CC/Summit, Ill.) early, as a Michael Jahnke (Coe College/Lansing, Ill.) plated Reggie Brock (Chicago State/Chicago, Ill.) in the first inning and Blake Soria (South Mountain CC/Chicago, Ill.) reached on an error with the bases loaded to score Brock once again in the third.
The Generals would chip away at the deficit and gain a run back in the fourth inning off Panthers starter Jake Miller (Concordia/Plainfield, Ill.), making his first start of the season. After Ranko Stevanovic (Triton College/Chicago, Ill.) singled and Jeremiah Lebron (Illinois/Bolingbrook, Ill.) reached on an error, Thomas Larson (Olivet Nazarene/Joliet, Ill.) slapped a double into right field. Miller would exit the game after stranding Lebron and Larson in scoring position, allowing four hits, walking two and striking out two, taking a no decision.
Andrew Stone (Bloom Trail HS/Bloom, Ill.) would take over on the mound for Miller in the fifth and found his way into trouble early. After easily retiring the first two hitters he faced, the middle of the Joliet lineup would come through once again. A Stevanovic walk and Lebron infield single would set up Larson with another good RBI chance, and he would take advantage of the moment by hitting a two-run single to center, giving Joliet a 3-2 lead.
The Panthers tied the game in the seventh inning after Brock singled home Maurey Garrett (Heartland CC/Flossmoor, Ill.), and they had a chance to bring home a victory in the bottom of the ninth. Colton Rydlewski (Albion College/Schererville, Ind.) opened the frame with an infield single and reached second after a Garret sacrifice bunt. He would advance to third shortly afterwards on a wild pitch. Reggie Brock would walk and take second on defensive indifference, setting up a potential walk-off victory.
However, it was not meant to be, as the Panthers situational hitting woes continued as they committed two consecutive outs and could not get the winning run home. This would come back to haunt the Panthers, as in the top of the tenth, after starting off the inning with two quick outs, Generals left fielder Scott Wojcik (Aurora/Sleepy Hollow, Ill.) stung a double down the right field line facing an 0-2 count to drive in the go-ahead run, giving them the 4-3 victory.
Although his team did not play the cleanest game, Joliet Generals manager Joe Hernandez was pleased with his team’s determination and willingness to keep fighting.
“They just battled,” Hernandez said. “It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t smooth, and it sure wasn’t pretty. But at the end of the day, we were able to come out one run ahead.” In addition to their inability to hit with runners in scoring position, the Panthers were also plagued by multiple miscues on the basepaths.
The Panthers were caught stealing three times and picked off once. Blake Soria was caught on the basepaths twice; he was cut down trying to steal second between pitches in the 10th inning while representing the tying run.
The Panthers will look to rebound tomorrow as they travel to Lemont to take on the DuPage County Hounds at 5:00 p.m. You can catch tomorrow’s game on the Crestwood Panthers Broadcasting Network with Ryan Zimmerman delivering the play-by-play call, available via Facebook Live on the Crestwood Panthers Facebook page.