06/29/2018 12:15 AM -
Midlothian, Ill. – June 28, 2018 – The normally reliable Panthers pitching staff was off their game as the Bloomington Bobcats erupted to a 19-5 victory.
The visiting Bobcats put the game out of reach early by scoring five runs in the third inning and eight runs in the fourth, putting the Panthers in a hole from which they could not escape.
After the opening the scoring in the bottom of the first inning when a Michael Jahnke (Coe College/Lansing, Ill.) groundout brought home Reggie Brock (Chicago State/Chicago, Ill.), the Panthers played catch-up the rest of the way. The Bobcats would level the score in the second inning on an RBI groundout, kicking off a stretch of five consecutive innings in which they scored a run.
Trying to conserve his arms ahead of Sunday’s doubleheader against the DuPage County Hounds, Panthers manager Isaac Valdez looked to Andrew Stone (Undecided/Chicago Heights, Ill.) and John Plattner (Lincoln Land CC/Chatham, Ill.) to get the job done on the mound. However, Stone was only able to get through three innings while allowing seven runs on ten hits and striking out two. Plattner did not fare much better, as he only lasted two innings surrendering 10 runs (six earned) on eight hits and three walks striking out three.
“You have to give credit to the Bloomington hitters,” Valdez said. “They had to get the job done at the plate, and they did. One thing I wanted my pitchers to do was to take advantage of the Bobcats aggressiveness at the plate by throwing off the plate early, but we left too many balls in the zone which got crushed.”
In order to keep his arms fresh for Sunday, Valdez turned to four position players to shoulder the load on the mound. Brock, Maurey Garrett (Heartland CC/Flossmoor, Ill.), Michael Ruffolo (Rockhurst/Norridge, Ill.), and Dan Cryan (South Suburban/Oak Lawn, Ill.) all pitched an inning apiece and did well. In fact, Brock was the only position player to give up a run on the mound, allowing two, while Garret, Ruffolo, and Cryan pitched scoreless innings.
On the offensive side, the Panthers five runs on eight hits would normally be enough to win a ballgame, but with a lopsided scoreline, Valdez is looking to see where his team can improve.
“I was really looking forward to today’s game because the last three batting practices the team looked great,” Valdez said. “In today’s game, some players stuck with the plan and succeeded, while some players tried to be big and whiffed trying to do too much. It’s all about discipline, I hope these guys understand that sooner than later for the sake of their careers before it’s too late.”
The Panthers come into tomorrow’s ballgame at 4-17 as they travel to take on the Northwest Indiana Oilmen at Oil City Stadium in Whiting, Ind. at 6:10 p.m. Valdez expects the players to shake off the result from today and come back ready to compete.
“One good thing about a game like this is that the players tend to forget it very quickly,” Valdez said. “I’m sure a lot of the guys have already forgotten about it. It will be completely out of their system by the time we show up to play tomorrow and we’ll take the field ready to play.”
You can catch tomorrow’s game on the Crestwood Panthers Broadcasting Network via Facebook Live as Ryan Zimmerman will have the play-by-play call.