07/01/2018 11:45 PM -
Lemont, Ill. – July 1, 2018 – The Crestwood Panthers played a doubleheader against the DuPage County Hounds and earned a split, winning the first game 10-9 and losing the second 16-5.
The Panthers held onto a one-run lead to down the Hounds in extra innings before imploding in the early innings the second time around.
Game one saw plenty of strong offensive performances, including Blake Soria (South Mountain CC/Homer Glen, Ill.) coming through with two two-out two-run hits, resulting in four RBI’s. Evan Bell (Memphis/Oak Park, Ill.) added on with two extra-base hits and three RBI’s of his own, belting his first home run of the season to straightaway center field in the third inning before providing the go-ahead RBI double in the eighth inning. Brian Vance (Saint Joseph’s (Pa.)/Chicago, Ill.) also contributed with two RBI’s.
“I’ve been saying for the past week that our offensive approach is really improving,” Panthers manager Isaac Valdez said. “Now the goal is to keep that approach on a consistent basis. I think the guys are starting to see the benefits of thinking middle, right side from situational hitting, from putting the ball in play. There’s still a lot of room for growth, however, and it’s starting to result in wins.”
Looking to pull off a sweep in game two, the Panthers let the game get out of hand early. The Hounds scored eight runs on six hits off starting pitcher Stephen Gilbertsen (Illinois State/Chesterton, Ind.), while being aided by four Panther errors. Of the eight runs in that first inning, only two were charged to Gilbertsen.
“Besides the mentality, experience makes these guys better defenders,” Valdez said. “They’re making those mistakes right now and making these mistakes now, which is unfortunate for us. With all these errors they’re making right now, the hope is that they won’t repeat them down the road later this season leading into their college seasons in the fall.”
Gilbertsen would only last two innings, giving up 11 runs (four earned) on nine hits, walking two and striking out one. Jackson Shepherd (Mesa CC/Channahon, Ill.) would take over in the third and pitch four innings, allowing four runs on five hits, walking two and striking out three.
The Panthers would have their moments offensively in game two. In the fifth inning, against Hounds starting pitcher Andrew Padilla, they batted around, sending 10 batters to the plate and scoring all five of their runs, forcing Padilla out of the game.
“These players have a lot of self-discipline,” Valdez said. “I’m very proud of them for that. The fact that they’re starting to excel in this specific facet of the game lets me know that they can still improve as ballplayers since they never lose their focus, and this will go a long way to helping them get better.”
Colton Rydlewski (Albion College/Schererville, Ind.) led the way offensively notching two RBI’s, Bell, Pat McGowan (Kalamazoo Valley CC/Frankfort, Ill.), and Michael Jahnke (Coe College/Lansing, Ill.) all added one RBI themselves.
The Hounds would score one more run in the seventh inning off Andrew Stone (Undecided/Chicago Heights, Ill.) and finished off game two in a commanding 16-5 victory.
The Panthers have three days off as their next game will take place on July 5th as they host the Northwest Indiana Oilmen at Howie Minas Field at 4:00 p.m. You can catch the action on the Northwest Indiana Oilmen Broadcasting Network as Ryan Zimmerman will join Brandon Vickrey and Dan Harty on the call.