Knocking out the Braves : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|Knocking out the Braves|
|Gilloffo earns win as Oswego Cats take lopsided victory |
|by Laura M. Medina|
After being relatively consistent throughout the season, the Oswego Cats have been anything but that in their most recent stretch, alternating wins and losses in their last six games.
Perhaps they can steady themselves by building off of their latest result, a thorough 14-1, seven-inning rout of visiting North Division rival Addison on Tuesday night at Jackie's Field of Dreams in Chicago Suburban Baseball League competition.
Oswego (21-12, 15-9 CSBL) had won three straight and five of six from July 5-10, but it is 3-3 since then, as it fell 5-3 to Wheaton last Thursday before splitting a doubleheader (a 3-2 win in the opener, a 6-3 loss in the nightcap) with Crystal Lake on Saturday.
On Sunday, the Cats posted a 6-1 win in the first contest of a twinbill against Crestwood prior to falling 13-5 in the second to drop its three-game season series against the Panthers.
After that doubleheader split, team founder and manager Ken Pickerill was honored by the state in a surprise ceremony (See page 28).
"We struggled a little bit hitting the ball on Saturday, and in the second game on Sunday, we just fell apart defensively," player-assistant coach Todd Miller said. "We had a lot of mistakes and misplayed balls, but with four games in two days, that will happen to you. Crestwood is the first series we've lost all season,"
With all of the back-and-forth in those matchups, Tuesday's victory could be the type of game that keeps them on the winning track.
Oswego's success during the 2012 slate has been characterized by solid pitching coupled with offensive prowess, and that is exactly what the team displayed during its thrashing of Addison.
Right-hander Mark Gilloffo (Central College - Iowa) came out and dominated from the start, holding the Braves without a hit until second baseman Luke Lucchetti's RBI triple in the third.
Gilloffo surrendered just two hits and two walks, while striking out two in four innings of work.
Right-hander Kevin Loukota (Northeastern Illinois University) came on in relief and was similarly effective in his three innings, conceding just one hit and hitting a batter, while also fanning two in his outing.
"We came out and hit the ball, and our pitching was good," Miller said. "Mark pitched good, and Kevin pitched good - that's the kind of pitching we're counting on."
In support of the efforts on the mound, Oswego's bats came out in full force, as they muscled out 17 hits on the night and produced at least a run in every inning.
"(Pickerill) likes to have a competitive team on the field, and while we've had lean years in the past, this season's team is different. It's a different story," Miller said. "We have the firepower in the lineup to come out and score five, six, seven, eight, 15 runs. We have the capability of doing that."
Leading 3-1 heading into the bottom of the fourth, the Cats opened things up with three-run inning. Right fielder Mike Foley (Aurora University), who was hit by a pitch to start the frame, came around to score on an overthrow at third during catcher Kyle Spooner's (Aurora University) at-bat.
Spooner then brought left fielder Ryan O'Dell (Edgewood College) - who went 2-for-4 with two runs scored - on a single past the shortstop to make it a 5-1 game. Three batters later, center fielder Tony Jandron (St. Norbert College) drove third baseman Anthony Amedei III (Aurora University) home on a single to right.
Amedei went 3-for-4 with three runs scored on the night for the Cats, who pushed seven runs across during a fifth inning that saw 12 hitters come to the plate.
After opening the inning with a strikeout, Oswego went on to register seven-straight hits.
In that stretch, Spooner (3-for-4, 3 RBIs, two runs scored) brought two runners home on a single, shortstop Bobby Wilson (Aurora University) batted in a run on a single to right, Jandron (3-for-5, three RBIs, run scored) singled in another run and Clay Schuler (Valparaiso University) delivered another with a single to left.
"That's been kind of the M.O. all year - hit the ball well," Miller said. "Maybe our pitching is not always where it should be, but the offense sometimes overcomes the shortcomings where we might not have been as solid."
Two batters later and with an 11-1 advantage, Ryan Prinzing's (University of Alabama-Birmingham) fielder choice brought a run in just before Foley (1-for-2, RBI, two runs scored) singled Schuler (4-for-5, RBI, two runs scored) home to give the hosts a 13-1 lead.
In the sixth, Jandron's RBI-triple pushed the game to its final 14-1 ledger, improving the Cats to an 8-6 mark in July.
Picking up a few more wins before the month is over certainly wouldn't hurt Oswego, which wraps up an 11-game homestand - during which it is already 6-3 - today, Thursday, with a doubleheader versus Lombard. Game one of the twinbill starts at 6:30 p.m., as the Cats attempt a season series split against the Orioles, who swept them in two games on June 2.
Another doubleheader is set for Sunday at High Desert Field against Lexington, followed by a team scrimmage session next week in preparation for the American Amateur Baseball Congress qualifying tournament, which starts July 26 at Jackie's Field of Dreams which a matchup between Oswego and Westmont.
Addison plays the winner of that matchup on July 27, and the remaining contests in the double-elimination tournament will be determined by those results.
Notes: Prior to Thursday's contest, Foley, Prinzing and O'Dell headed to Madison Meadows in Lombard to participate in the Annual CSBL Collegiate All-Star Game. Results were not available at press time.
Ahead of Tuesday's game against Addison, several players boosted their season numbers, as Schuler was 8-for-12 with two RBIs, Axelsen was 4-for-7, Prinzing was 4-for-6 with an RBI, and Amedei was 3-for-6 with an RBI and two runs during that five-game span.
In the July 12 loss to Wheaton, Foley went 1-for-4 with two RBIs. Two days later in a win against Crystal Lake, right-hander Rob Currie (Tusculum College) surrendered one hit and two walks, while striking out 10 in seven innings. Catcher Jay Clark (North Central College) and O'Dell each went 2-for-3 in Sunday's game-two loss to Crestwood. O'Dell also had an RBI in that game.