MINOOKA – Five of Minooka's last six Southwest Prairie Conference baseball games have been decided by three runs or fewer. None have been decided by more than seven.
The kinds of mistakes that may be keeping Minooka from winning easily as in past years were on display Wednesday afternoon during a home game with Oswego East. Minooka's defense made six errors. Its pitching issued four walks, and of the 12 hits produced by its offense, just one went for extra bases.
Something else that has happened regularly for the Indians this season is they have won, in spite of their imperfections. The same was true Wednesday, when the Indians found a way to hold off Oswego East, 6-3, and improve to 16-4 overall and 10-1 in the SPC.
"We were fortunate [Wednesday]," Minooka coach Jeff Petrovic said. "We've not been playing pretty baseball. It's kind of been a little rough the last couple of days, but we'll get it together. This is a very good defensive team, and it's a very good pitching team, so I'm not really overly worried."
Both teams did damage after there were two outs and nobody on in the first inning. Isaiah Spencer had an infield single and Austen Kapusinski an RBI triple, aided by the center fielder falling down, for the Wolves in the top half. Minooka did a run better in the bottom of the first, with Cristian Sanchez walking, Brennan Polcyn hitting an RBI double and Joe Butler hitting an RBI single.
The Indians stayed ahead the rest of the way, scoring once in the second inning to offset a fourth-inning East run and again in their half of the fourth to offset a sixth-inning run by the Wolves. Senior pitcher Mitch Malone finally got some insurance in the bottom of the sixth, when Polcyn hit a two-run single – his second two-out, two-strike hit with runners in scoring position on the day.
"I just tend to stay confident and to just, well just protect with two strikes, always," Polcyn said. "Most of the time you get a curveball, and I just wait back on that and try to take it to right field."
The Wolves did threaten Malone in the seventh, drawing a pair of one-out walks. Petrovic stayed with his right-hander, who had thrown 102 pitches after the second free pass, and a strikeout and a groundout back to Malone were the result.
Of the three runs Malone allowed, only one was earned. He allowed three hits and three strikeouts.
"I felt good," Malone said. "I had all three of my pitches working for me [Wednesday], so just try to spot and let my defense go to work."
The top four hitters in the Minooka lineup had multiple hits, with Polcyn producing three from the cleanup spot and Neal Tyrell, Tyler Desmarais and Sanchez had two each.
Nobody had multiple hits for East (9-9, 6-5), though Kapusinski reached base three times.