06/19/2018 11:45 PM -
Midlothian, Ill. – June 19. 2018 – The Crestwood Panthers were shut out for the first time this season as they were defeated by the Joliet Generals 13-0.
The Generals turned it on in the middle innings as their offense ignited in the top of the fourth inning, putting up six runs with two outs against Panthers starter Andrew Stone (Undecided/Chicago Heights, Ill.).
In his first start of the season, Stone worked dangerously through the lineup the first two times through the Generals lineup. Though he did strike out three hitters in his first three innings of work, Stone also walked four and allowed one run over five hits.
With two outs in the Generals half of the fourth, Jeremiah Lebron delivered with the bases loaded by hitting a three-RBI double to kickstart a six-run rally. Ranko Stevanovic and Thomas Larson would deliver back-to-back singles to push the Generals lead to a comfortable seven runs.
Stone’s day on the mound would conclude after getting a weak flyout from Harrison Hayes to end the inning. He labored through 101 pitches through four innings of work, giving up seven runs on 10 hits, striking out three and walking six.
“Andrew is still a young pitcher and has a lot to learn,” Panthers manager Isaac Valdez said. “One of the things he needs to understand is who’s on deck. We’re going to have to challenge hitters at some point, and I would rather challenge the less dangerous hitters in Joliet’s lineup. We didn’t execute pitches today and the approach to the hitter before [Jeremiah] Lebron was not what it should have been; that cost us dearly.”
Ryan Green (Savannah State/Port Royal, S.C.) came on to replace Stone in the fifth inning and did not do much to slow down the Generals offense. Green pitched four innings in relief, surrendering six runs (five earned) on seven hits while walking one and striking out two. Although he started off strong by pitching a scoreless fifth, Green would give up one additional run for each inning he remained on the mound, giving up a three-run home run to defensive replacement Ben Jung in the eighth inning.
Michael Jahnke (Coe College/Lansing, Ill.) would take over on the mound and pitch a shutout ninth inning, concluding the Generals day at the plate.
“We have to be consistent about getting our secondary pitches over for strikes,” Valdez said. “That maximizes your fastball and gives you the confidence to throw any pitch in any count. Today we weren’t consistent about it, and the Generals could sit fastball and not have to think about seeing any off-speed pitches. Going forward, our guys cannot be so predictable on the mound, they have to trust their secondary stuff and force opposing hitters to act defensively at the dish.”
In addition to their offensive explosion, the Generals were backed by a strong start out of Logan DeWulf. He worked six shutout innings while only allowing three hits and walking one, earning a winning decision. DeWulf only struck out one batter, but he was effective in mixing velocity and location to keep Panthers hitters off-balance throughout his start.
Scott Wojcik and Joe Santos came on in relief to complete the shutout.
“Our hitters have to step up and perform better,” Valdez said. “We are not getting the job done on offense. At this point it’s not an issue by the approaches the guys are taking, they just aren’t coming through when they need to. Things need to change quickly, and the motivation has to come from the players.”
The Panthers will be in action once again tomorrow against the DuPage County Hounds at Howie Minas Field at 7:00 p.m. You can catch all the action on the Crestwood Panthers Broadcasting Network via Facebook Live, as Ryan Zimmerman has the play-by-play call.