MORRIS – Coming off a lackluster performance and loss at Plainfield Central on Tuesday afternoon, the Morris baseball team had a challenge put to it on Wednesday before its game against rival Minooka.
“Playing a rival is certainly incentive, but we need to get to the point where we need to bring that kind of intensity to the park every day, Morris coach Todd Kein said,
Morris got a complete-game effort from senior Nick Evola while getting three runs off of three different Indians pitchers in a 3-2 nonconference victory.
Wednesday’s game hit fans on both sides with sudden changes right from the get go. Minooka opened the game against Evola with three solidly struck hits from Neal Tyrell, Christian Sanchez and Tyler Desmarais, but Evola got out of the inning allowing just one run after inducing a double play grounder and then one more to conclude the frame.
“It was a bit of a shaky first inning for [Evola], but I think offensively we helped him out, coming right back out in the bottom of the first and pushing across two. I think that helped his confidence a little bit,” Kein said. “I think he went back out there with a bit of a different approach, a little bit different attitude. After that, it was pretty smooth sailing for him.”
“[Evola] did a really nice job in the first inning of getting out of there. We squared the ball up and hit it really hard, but he was able to get out of that jam with a double play. That was kind of a momentum killer,” Minooka coach Jeff Petrovic said. “For him to get out of that inning with us just scoring one run was a big boost for them, and I think that carried over into the first inning off of [Mitch] Vogrin.”
Just like Minooka had done in the top half, Morris strung together three straight hits off the bats of Austin Conrod, Trevor Lines and Tim Smyk, then scored the second run
“They [Redskins] do a really nice job of putting the ball into play and were able to battle. They have a nice contact hitting team that puts the ball into play,” Petrovic said.
Vogrin, Miguel Ruiz and Mitch Malone pitched two innings each against Morris with Malone picking up the loss after allowing an unearned run in the sixth. Minooka had previously tied the game at 2 on a single by Kenny Walsh, an error and two ground outs.
Morris scored the winner when Geno Persico reached on an error and with Ricky Pelnarsh courtesy running, he stole second. Kyle Hill then sacrificed leading up to the game-winning RBI single by Trevor Lines.
“We got some timely hits. Obviously, Trevor’s is the one that sticks out that pushed across the go-ahead run,” Kein said. “That was a timely hit there, but we moved the baseball more consistently today, and we manufactured. It was a little bit of a different attitude and approach today. We made some tweaks and we got positive results.”