07/07/2018 12:10 AM -
Midlothian, Ill. – July 6, 2018 – It was just one of those games for the Crestwood Panthers as the visiting Joliet Generals strolled to a 16-2 victory.
Every Generals batter that came to the plate reached base as the Panthers pitching staff struggled to find any consistency on the mound.
The Panthers put themselves into an early hole after the Generals first six batters of the game reached base, propelling them to an early 3-0 lead. They would end up scoring two more to cap off a five-run first inning.
The bats would respond by putting two runs across in the bottom half of the inning, but that was all the offense they could muster tonight. After two first-inning hits, they could only muster three throughout the remainder of last night’s contest.
“These guys are young men,” Panthers manager Isaac Valdez said. “But they need to learn that even if they’re losing big, they need to stay in the game mentally. That’s something we’ve struggled with all season. The guys have a lot of strength in certain aspects of the game, but as college athletes, mental toughness is something they need to have inside of them.”
To make matters worse, the Panthers had to face a hot-hitting Generals team with a depleted pitching staff. Andrew Stone (Undecided/Chicago Heights, Ill.) started the game for the Panthers, and despite allowing five runs in the first inning, he rebounded nicely and pitched a solid five innings. He allowed seven runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out two.
Michael Jahnke (Coe College/Lansing, Ill.) came on in the sixth and started his night by pitching two scoreless innings. However, he would run into trouble in the eighth inning following four walks and a single. He would exit the game in favor of Shane Peisker (John A. Logan College/Hammond, Ind.) who made his first pitching appearance of the season.
Peisker did not fare much better. The Generals picked up where they left off with a new arm on the mound, as after Peisker got an infield fly on his first batter, he proceeded to hit two and allow two singles, pushing the Generals advantage to 13-2. The Generals would tack on three more in the top of the ninth to conclude the scoring at 16-2.
The Generals batted around twice, including nine runs in the final two innings of play. Their strong offensive performance was aided by the Panthers inability to throw strikes, as Crestwood pitching issued 10 walks and hit six.
“Tonight was a unique situation because we had a position player take the mound,” Valdez said. “That definitely skews the numbers, but regardless, we could have gotten a better performance out of our two pitchers. After that rough first inning, I thought Stone settled down nicely and pitched a solid final four. Jahnke came in and pitched a lot better than he had over the last couple weeks, I had to stretch him out an extra inning, which I didn’t want to do, but he pitched a great first two innings. It didn’t help that our offense didn’t help us out and give us a closer game.”
With the loss, the Panthers fall to 5-20 with a doubleheader tomorrow at Howie Minas Field against the DuPage County Hounds starting at noon. If the Panthers want to sweep the two games, Valdez believes his team needs to be at their best.
“When you play a team as good as the Hounds, you have to play fundamental, sound, smart baseball. We have everything it takes to win, we can beat any team on any given day, as we have proven this season. But in order for that to happen, we need to be smart and make the routine plays.”
You can catch all the action from tomorrow’s doubleheader on the Crestwood Panthers Broadcasting Network via Facebook Live. Ryan Zimmerman will have the play-by-play call.