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Vikings spell Wolves with late homer : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Vikings spell Wolves with late homer
Oswego East baseball falls 6-4 in home opener

by Christine Bolin Dascher


There was a whole lot of small ball and manufacturing runs on both sides of the baseball game between Oswego East and Geneva on Tuesday.

Unfortunately for the Wolves, the Vikings were the ones to come up with the big hit toward the end of the game. With Oswego East up by one run after six innings, shortstop Nick Derr blasted a three-run home run in the top of the seventh that pushed Geneva ahead by what would be the eventual final score of 6-4 in Oswego in a non-conference contest.

"It was a well-hit ball on (Derr's) part," Oswego East head coach Bobby Kaminski said. "It was an off-speed pitch that looked like he was sitting on it, so he's a smart hitter and a good hitter...but we had opportunities earlier in the game to extend the lead. All in all, I think it was a pretty well-played ballgame. We had a few miscues here and there and had some physical things we can clean up, but I'm really proud of the way our guys competed."

Prior to the Vikings, the Wolves' first game of the season was on March 26 against Bloomington at the Corn Crib Stadium. Oswego East won, 4-2.

Derr, a sophomore who has verbally committed to Florida State, allowed Geneva its first win of the season in its first game of the year.

"I'm always nervous about the first game of the year because you never know what you are going to get," Geneva head coach Matt Hahn said. "They look great in the gym and in batting practice...but it was an exciting way to win the game."

The game was tied at 3 going into the bottom of the fifth, when senior designated hitter Jared Litkenhus led the inning off with a double. The next batter, first baseman Vince Schwartz, used a sacrifice bunt that moved Litkenhus to third. The next batter after that, senior catcher Josh Hemmer, then put down a perfect suicide squeeze bunt that allowed Litkenhus to score.

"Vince Schwartz had an outstanding sacrifice bunt, and then Josh Hemmer...I'm really proud of the execution right there," Kaminski said.

Neither team scored in the sixth, and with two runners on base and two outs, Derr hit his game-changing home run.

"You kind of get that early in the season when it's this cold - not too many balls are hit hard and guys aren't quite comfortable at the plate just yet," Hahn said. "But (Derr) is that kind of player. He'll get the credit and all, but if those two guys before him (Alex Lobrillo and Jason Croci) don't get on base, he may have not had that chance to do it."

In the bottom of the seventh, Oswego East could only manage a single from Schwartz with two outs. He ended up scoring the first run of the game for the Wolves after a ground out RBI from senior centerfielder Zach Behnke.

Geneva tied the game in the top of the third before Schwartz' RBI double that allowed senior left fielder Nick Dabrowski to score in the bottom of the inning pushed the Wolves ahead 2-1.

Once again in the next inning, Geneva tied the game at 2 when Jack Wassel led off with a walk and eventually scored on an Oswego East throwing error.

In the fourth, Oswego East took the lead back after junior shortstop Trevor Kalish led the inning off by reaching base after he was hit by a pitch. He moved to second when junior third baseman Mike Mackey was walked and eventually scored on a wild pitch.

Geneva tied the game at 3 when Nate Montgomery's RBI single allowed Croci to score in the fifth.

Senior pitcher Tyler Engleman started the game for the Wolves. In four innings, he gave up one hit (a single from Garrett Davis in the third), three walks and struck out five. Senior Austin Kapusinski finished the game, and in three innings, he gave up three hits, one walk and struck out six batters.

"I thought Tyler did a great job out there and Austin as well, once he settled in," Kaminski said. "At this point in the season, as expected, the pitching is well ahead of the hitting. It's not ideal hitting conditions outside now, so any time you can put pressure on the defense to make plays, we'll take advantage of doing so."

Notes: Against Bloomington, the game was tied at 2 after two innings before the Wolves scored once in the top of the sixth and again in the top of the seventh. Both teams finished with three hits.

Junior pitcher Andrew Stout earned the win on the mound after he threw two scoreless innings. He struck out three, walked one and did not give up any hits. Junior Zak Deverman held Bloomington to no hits over three innings, allowed no earned runs and fanned three batters.

Hemmer and Isaiah Spencer each recorded an RBI and senior Dabrowski posted a hit and drew two walks for the Wolves.

"(Bloomington is) a quality program and a good baseball team," Kaminski said. "We played some great defense, turned a couple of double plays and ended up manufacturing four runs on three hits."

The Wolves were scheduled to play against Naperville North on Wednesday, but results were not available at press time.

Oswego East is scheduled to take on Yorkville today, Thursday, on the road at 4:30 p.m. and will host Streamwood on Friday at 4:30 p.m.

On Saturday, the Wolves will host Metea Valley before starting the Southwest Prairie Conference season hosting rival Oswego on Tuesday at 4:15 p.m.

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