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Sixth-inning hitters : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Sixth-inning hitters
Jakubowski hits grand slam, Wolves answer with seven runs to take Game 1

by Christine Bolin Dascher


Just as things looked good for the Oswego baseball team, things started looking even better for rival Oswego East.

The Panthers' leadoff man, Charlie Jakubowkski, hit a grand slam in the top of the sixth that gave his team a three-run lead, but by the bottom of the inning, the Wolves scored seven times were able to clinch the 10-6 win at Oswego East in the Southwest Prairie Conference opener for both teams on Tuesday.

"We needed a win, we needed some offense, and we got it," Oswego East head coach Bobby Kaminski said. "That was first and foremost. Offensively, we strung some things together, had a great inning and responded well when they took the lead. I couldn't be more proud of the way the guys competed and kept the energy up and stayed behind each other the whole way through. There was never a doubt in their minds that we were going to be able to come back."

"All we needed was a positive attitude," Oswego East junior pinch hitter Tyler Linna added. "We weren't necessarily thinking we'd score seven runs, but I know we could do anything. Anything was possible. It's a great feeling. We've been working hard, and it's all starting to come together. It means everything. We've been looking forward to this series all season."

Game 2 of the series was scheduled for Wednesday, but results were not available at press time. Game 3 will take place at Oswego East today, Thursday, at 4:15 p.m. The Wolves snapped a three-game losing streak and are now 2-3 overall. Oswego is 2-2 overall.

With Oswego East leading 3-2 after five innings and the bases loaded after junior third baseman Jake Rock and senior pitcher Blake Sempetrean both singled and senior outfielder Jerome Minick drew a walk in the top of the sixth two outs, Jakubowski hit the grand slam that pushed the Panthers ahead, 6-3.

"Even after (the grand slam), it was never over," Oswego head coach Mark Johnson said. "This isn't a bitter rivalry. All the kids get along, so it's not over. Just like when they went up on us, we came back, and I knew they were going to come back."

Jakubowski finished with all six RBIs for the Panthers.

"He did well, and he's getting on base," Johnson said. "If it wasn't for him, who knows what would have happened. We had opportunities. We had plenty of guys left on base and we were aggressive at the plate."

In the bottom of the sixth, Oswego East's offensive outpouring occurred. With one out, senior right fielder Nick Dabrowski reached base on an error, followed by Vince Schwartz' double. The No. 9 batter, second baseman Noah Anderson, then hit a two-RBI double that allowed both runners to score. Anderson then scored on junior shortstop Trevor Kalish's RBI double. That was followed by another RBI double from Linna. The next batter, senior left fielder Austin Kapusinski walked.

Linna eventually scored when senior outfielder Zach Behnke connected on a suicide squeeze play, and Kapusinski also eventually crossed home plate on an Oswego error. Behnke tallied the 10th run after pinch hitter Matt Rohde, a junior, hit an RBI single.

The Wolves finished with five of their eight total hits in that inning.

"I don't know what got them going, but I hope it doesn't stop," Kaminski said.

Oswego scored two runs in the top of the second, when Jakubowski hit a two RBI double that allowed Sempetrean and Minick to score after they reached base on back-to-back walks.

Oswego East scored its first run when Kapusinski led off the fourth inning on a walk and scored on an Oswego error.

The Wolves then took the 3-2 advantage in the bottom of the fifth after Schwartz led the inning off with the first hit of the game for Oswego East.

With one out, Kalish was walked. Schwartz eventually scored on Linna, the pinch hitter, hit an RBI single. Kalish reached home on a sacrifice fly RBI from Kapusinski.

Engleman was Oswego East's starter. In 5 2/3 innings, he allowed seven hits, four walks and seven strikeouts before Zach Hutten relieved him. He ended up getting the win, and senior Isaiah Spencer earned the save in the final inning.

"Even though Tyler (Engleman) gave up that big hit, he competed," Kaminski said. "One pitch hurt him, but (Jakubowski) put a great swing on it. Tyler did a great job keeping us in the game the whole time."

Sempetrean was Oswego's starter. In 3 1/3 innings, he did not give up one hit, but walked four and struck out five. Senior Israel Ortiz was tagged with the loss.

Oswego East notes: On April 2, Naperville North defeated the Wolves, 7-1, in Naperville.

The Wolves finished with just four hits from Kapusinski, Linna, Behnke and Engleman with the lone RBI coming from Behnke.

"This game was a lot closer than the score indicated," Kaminski said. "We just couldn't get anything going offensively. It was not a good hitter's day. Neither team hit well until late - they had one big double that kind of opened up the game - but we were right there with them for five innings."

Against Metea Valley last Saturday, the Wolves lost, 3-1. Oswego East's three hits were from Kapusinski, senior Jared Litkenhus and Kalish. Linna scored the run.

"(Metea Valley) made a couple less mistakes than we did," Kaminski said. "Neither team really knocked the cover off the ball in that game. They had a couple of infield hits and just sort of squeaked by. We just couldn't get anything going."

After the Oswego-Oswego East series wraps up, Oswego East will host Eisenhower on Saturday at 10 a.m. before starting the three-game conference series hosting Romeoville on Tuesday at 4:15 p.m.

Oswego notes: Prior to the Oswego East game, Oswego defeated both Aurora Central Catholic, 9-1, last Saturday and Sandwich,4-3 in 11 innings, on Monday.

Against ACC, the Panthers led 9-0 before the Chargers scored their run in the top of the fifth. Oswego tallied twice in the bottom of the first, three times in the second and four times in the fourth.

The Panthers posted just four hits from Mitch Wilson, Jake Rock, Blake Sempetrean and Jakubowski. Rock finished with three RBIs and Wilson had two. Sempetrean earned the win on the mound after he gave up two hits, one walk and five strikeouts in four innings.

Against Sandwich, Oswego scored the winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning on a Sandwich error. The game was tied at 2 after the first inning and tied again at 3 after nine innings of play.

Semptrean and Rock each finished with two hits and Sempetrean posted two RBIs.

Oswego starter Tucker Vann ended up with nine strikeouts, gave up two hits and no walks in 5 2/3 innings pitched. Marty Maves earned the win in relief.

"We had numerous times when we could have added some runs here and there," Johnson said. "They are a smaller school, we are the bigger school, so you knew they were going to get up for this one."

After the Oswego-Oswego East series concludes, Oswego will host West Aurora at 4:30 p.m. on Friday and host West Chicago on Saturday at noon before starting the conference series against Plainfield North at home at 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday.

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