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Summer work nets improvement : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Summer work nets improvement
Oswego baseball opens playoffs with win over Marmion, falls to Batavia

by Christine Bolin Dascher


After defeating Marmion in convincing fashion in the first game of the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association (IHSBCA) Phil Lawler Classic, the Oswego baseball team turned right around and fell to Batavia and ended the summer season on Monday.

Even though St. Charles East hosted the regional, both games were held at Batavia. No. 15 seed Oswego topped No. 14 Marmion, 12-1 in five innings.

After a 20-minute break in between contests, the host and No. 3 seeded Bulldogs beat the Panthers, 8-1, on a hot, humid and rainy day.

With the win, Batavia played No. 11 Crystal Lake South on Tuesday and Batavia won, 13-10. The Gators advanced on Monday after topping No. 6 West Aurora, 7-4.

No. 1 St. Charles North, No. 5 St. Charles East and No. 10 Geneva also advanced after winning on Tuesday. Playoff action was scheduled to resume on Wednesday, but results were not available at press time.

The St. Charles East Regional title game takes place today, Thursday, in St. Charles at 4 p.m.

After over a month of practices and games, Mark Johnson thought his first summer season as the Panthers' new head coach was a great success.

"It was very, very positive," Johnson said. "We saw a lot of good things from a lot of kids. There were a lot of positive attitudes and a lot of hustle."

"I had fun, but I thought we also got a lot of good work in," pitcher/outfielder Jerome Minick added. "It wasn't necessarily about winning the games - it was about getting better."

Oswego 12, Marmion 1 (5 inn.)

The Panthers had an impressive performance against the Cadets, thanks to their 13 hits and the pitching of Minick.

The left-handed starter pitched the entire game, gave up three hits, three walks and struck out five batters using 84 pitches.

"Jerome did really well," Johnson said. "He got ahead in the count and shut them down (after the first inning). He got stronger and stronger and was ready to go today."

"I pitched for contact, and the defense really kept us in the game," Minick added. It felt good - tiring, but good - to get that first game out of the way with a win."

Shortstop Mitch Wilson scored the first run of the game for the Panthers. He led off with a walk, moved to second on a Cadet error, got to third on third baseman Jake Rock's sacrifice fly and scored on first baseman Zack Sparkman's ground out RBI.

In the bottom of the first, Marmion's leadoff man, Josh Meyers, hit a solo home run. After that, Minick gave up just two scattered singles, and no Marmion base runner got past third base.

"(Minick) was throwing strikes all game," Marmion head coach Dave Rakow said. "He mixed up his pitches and was around the strike zone. You really can't ask your pitcher to do much more than that. He was striking us out and keeping us off the bases. You have to give the kid credit - he did a good job."

"I play travel ball (with Minick), and I see him pitch all the time, so it was no surprise he pitched so well," Wilson added.

Oswego scored twice in the second on back-to-back RBI singles from left fielder Charlie Jakubowski and Wilson.

In the third, the Panthers scored three runs on six hits, led by a two RBI single from catcher Jeff Pieroni and another RBI single from Jakubowski.

In the fourth, three more runs were tallied, thanks to RBI from second baseman Carter Turnquist, Pieroni and Jakubowski.

In the fifth, three more runs were scored on another two RBI single from Pieroni and RBI single from Turnquist. Pieroni finished with three hits and five RBIs, Jakubowski ended up with three RBIs and Minick's pinch runner, Christian Hernandez, scored four runs for the Panthers. Minick reached base on an error, single and two walks.

"We've had three times where we've put a certain lineup out there and played very well," Johnson said. "We're very happy with what we saw in Game 1. We hit up and down the lineup, which was good."

Marmion ended up using four different pitchers.

"We had a lot of guys out of town - our top four pitchers were gone - but I was still a little disappointed on how we hit the ball," Rakow said. "I was expecting a high-scoring game, but I was hoping we could keep up with the scoring a little bit, but we didn't."

Batavia 8, Oswego 1

Right away, Batavia struck fast in the second game of the day against Oswego. The Bulldogs scored four runs on four hits in the bottom of the first inning, including a two RBI double from shortstop Micah Coffey, RBI single from designated hitter Jake Piechota and RBI double from third baseman Andrew Seigler.

"We had 20 minutes, it was hot and humid and (the Batavia players) were sitting there, ready to go," Johnson said. "They are a really good team...I know they got beat in the regional (5-4 by Hoffman Estates in the Class 4A Bartlett Regional semifinal) and were upset, but they still have a very good team. It wasn't like we lost - they beat us."

Oswego scored its lone run of the contest when Wilson led the top of the third inning off with a single, stole second and reached home on a Batavia error.

In the bottom of the third, Batavia scored again on an RBI single from catcher Dean Simoncelli. Piechota provided the RBI single in the fourth that gave the Bulldogs the 6-1 advantage after four innings of play.

Batavia scored its final two runs in the sixth, when centerfielder Steve Busby reached base on an Oswego error and scored after Coffey's RBI triple. Coffey reached home on Seigler's sacrifice fly RBI.

Batavia ended up outhitting Oswego, 10-6. The Panthers used three different pitchers, and the Bulldogs' starter, lefty Evan Acosta, was tagged with the win after he struck out nine and walked two in five innings of work.

"It was a good, solid baseball game on our part," said Batavia head coach Matt Holm, who is the uncle of Oswego outfielder Bryce Holm. "(Evan Acosta) is getting some good recruiting, and he's somebody we are looking forward to being in our starting rotation next spring. We're excited about that."

Notes: In the final week of regular season play, the July 10 games with West Chicago were canceled, but on July 11, the Panthers split with West Aurora. They lost the first game, 4-3, but won the second game, 6-2.

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