NEW LENOX — One break led to the difference in winning and losing for the Minooka Indians baseball team Thursday in the opener of the WJOL tournament against Joliet Catholic.
With the game tied at one in the top of the sixth inning, the Hillmen were threatening to take the lead. They had runners on first and third with only one out, and their designated hitter, Ira Hughes, up. Hughes hit a slow roller to Minooka shortstop Neal Tyrell, who flipped it to second baseman Nick Bell to get the force out at second. Bell then threw it to first, where it seemed to be that Hughes beat the throw. The umpire thought otherwise, as he called Hughes out, ending the inning with no damage done to Minooka.
The Indians capitalized, as they scored twice in the bottom half of the inning to take a 3-1 decision over JCA.
"I thought it was going to be a close game anyways. Obviously that could have been a break depending on how you looked at the play,"
Minooka head coach Jeff Petrovic said. "It made a difference of them being up 2-1 going into the last inning to us leading 3-1. We feel better that we scored runs there to go up."
"It's all just apart if the game," JCA head coach Jared Voss added. "Whether it's the weather, or umpiring. It's all just apart of the game."
After that, Minooka did score two runs, as the Hillmen sent out three different pitchers in the sixth inning. After consecutive bunt singles from Tyrell and designated hitter Tyler Desmaris, third baseman Joe Carnagio hit a single to left field to load up the bases with no outs. That set the stage for first baseman Max Brozovich to be the hero for Minooka, as he hit to center field, bringing in Tyrell to put the Indians ahead for good. An RBI groundout from Dane Colvin two batters later resulted in the final fun for Minooka.
Brozovich proved to be the offensive leader for the Indians Thursday, as he went 3-for-3 at the plate with two doubles and two RBI's. He had three of the team's eight hits on the evening, which helped his team advance to the semifinals of the WJOL tournament.
"It's been a disadvantage for everyone because nobody has really been able to see live pitching since we've been inside all year," Brozovich said. "So it felt good today to go out there and get a few hits."
Mitch Vogrin started on the mound again for Minooka, and he looked stronger than his last outing against Providence. The junior only allowed one hit while striking out four guys over four innings. After Josh Mitchell pitched the fifth, Steve Szymanski finished it up for the Indians, pitching two scoreless innings to close out the game for Minooka.
"The game plan was to let Vogrin go to a certain point. Whether it be the fourth inning, fifth inning, or sixth inning, I really didn't know," Petrovic said. "We really just based it on numbers because we knew we were going to come back with Mitchell and Szymanski."
With the win, Minooka now sets up a re-match with Providence, a team they lost to 6-3 last Saturday. Last week's game, though, was also very bizarre, as there was a 25 minute delay after that started to play. Needless to say, both teams are eager to see each other again.
"It'll be a great game. We have a lot of respect for those guys over there," Petrovic said of Providence. "Hopefully we'll play a little better than we did last time."