06/21/2021 9:00 PM -
Crestwood, Ill. – June 19, 2021 – Entering the bottom of the seventh inning, the Crestwood Panthers’ (8-8) hopes for a win over the Chicago American Giants (7-5) were virtually gone. Trailing 11-3 with just nine outs remaining, the Panthers had exhibited issues across the diamond, and looked primed for a difficult defeat.
Then, in what could be considered the greatest comeback of the 2021 MCL season, Crestwood tallied eight runs in their final three at-bats to tie the Giants 11-11. That is where the score remained entering the 10th inning, as darkness made the game unplayable.
The Panthers plated six runs in the seventh inning, highlighted by three RBI walks from Gabe Halaby (University of Chicago / Monument, Colo.), Riley Beck (Purdue University-Northwest / Cedar Rapids, Iowa) and Kevin Coe Jr. (Eastern Kentucky / Chicago, Ill.), along with RBI singles from both Hayden Matulich (Purdue University-Northwest / San Jose, Calif.) and Tim Fauth (North Park University / Elk Grove Village, Ill.). In the eighth, Donovan Noble (South Suburban College / Chicago, Ill.) turned a lead-off single into a crucial run by stealing second base, then advancing to third and home via two balks by Giants pitcher Jaylen Patterson. And, in the ninth, with two runners on and an 0-2 count, Coe lined a sharp single to left field, plating Donovan McIntyre (Kent State University / Richton Park, Ill.) to tie the game. It was a valiant comeback that manager Isaac Valdez was extremely proud of.
“These guys are very resilient,” Valdez said. “They never give up, and play until all 27 outs are recorded. I do wish that we could get things rolling earlier and get leads earlier in games. That said, they did a great job at coming back tonight.”
On the mound, Crestwood was propelled by a lights-out performance from Antwon Herndon-Walker (Calumet College / Hammond, Ind.). Walker entered the game in the sixth inning, and pitched two total innings of shutout baseball, striking out two and allowing no hits. Then, in the ninth, Kevin Coe Jr. recorded the inning’s final out, allowing the Panthers to trail by just one run entering the bottom of the frame. Valdez praised both players for their performances, and their overall growth on the season.
“We don’t come close to winning today’s game without Antwon,” Valdez said. “When he came in, we were down by eight, but he kept us in it throughout. He has worked very hard, to his credit, to get to this point. As for Kevin, his hit was huge. The kid has no fear and he also did a great job for us on the mound too. Both guys stepped up for us big time.”
Unfortunately, due to darkness, the game was suspended following the ninth inning of play. When it is resumed, the score will be 11-11 entering the top of the tenth inning. A resumption date, as of this point, has not been announced. The Panthers will return to the field on Tuesday evening, as they oppose the MCL Minutemen from Prairie State College. Coverage begins at 5 P.M. on the Panthers’ Broadcast Network, available via Facebook Live.