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Another tough series : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Another tough series
Plainfield Central sweeps Oswego, Panthers rebound against Joliet Central

by Christine Bolin Dascher


For the third time this season, the Oswego baseball team was swept in a Southwest Prairie Conference series.

The most recent was by Plainfield Central, which won Game 1 of the series, 2-0, on April 29. In Game 2, the Wildcats won, 10-4.

In the third and final game of the series last Thursday, Plainfield Central beat the Panthers, 4-1, in Oswego.

"When we can start figuring out how to play against nine guys instead of 18, we'll be OK," Oswego head coach Mark Johnson said. "We have seniors who want to win so bad that they are trying to do too much. Once we know our capabilities and what we can and can't do.

"(Plainfield Central) didn't do anything to beat us - we beat ourselves in every single game against them."

This was the first time all season Plainfield Central swept a conference opponent.

"I think we are swinging the bats better now," Plainfield Central coach John Rosner said. "Coming off the series with Minooka, Plainfield South and Plainfield East, I think we are doing a better job of making contact and putting the ball into play and making our opponents execute."

Oswego (7-11 overall, 2-11 in the conference) had plenty of opportunities to score, as it ended up leaving 10 stranded on the bases and was walked seven times. The Panthers even ended up out-hitting the Wildcats 6-4, but the guests made better use of their time on the bases.

"That's been the story of our whole season - we get guys on but just can't get the big hit or string something together," Johnson said.

Plainfield Central scored its first run in the top of the third, when Josh Tesch led off with a single and eventually scored on pitcher Austin Weitendorf's sac fly RBI.

In the fourth, Plainfield Central's Christian Armstrong led off the inning when he reached base on an Oswego error and moved to third on Matt Ryan's double with no outs. When the next batter, Austin Blazevic, reached base on another Panther error, both Armstrong and Ryan scored.

In the sixth, Nick Rana singled, stole second and gave Plainfield Central the 4-0 lead when Tesch hit an RBI double with two outs.

Oswego waited all the way until the bottom of the seventh to score its run. Sophomore right fielder Konor Gengler reached base on a Plainfield Central error and scored when junior pinch hitter Matt Rakosnik hit an RBI double with two outs.

Seniors Mitch Wilson, Bryce Holm, Jeff Pieroni and junior Marty Maves and Jake Rock had the other hits for the Panthers.

Oswego senior pitcher Jerome Minick took the loss after he allowed two walks and struck out five batters in seven innings of work.

"Jerome threw well - he's been consistently throwing well. Every game he comes out, he battles," Johnson said. "The defense behind him let him down...but he remained composed."

Notes: In Game 2 of the series with Plainfield Central, the Wildcats scored six times in the bottom of the first, three more times in the second and once in the third for 10-1 advantage after three innings. After the second, the Panthers didn't score again until once in the sixth and twice in the seventh.

"In the first inning, (Plainfield Central) was hitting all over the place," Johnson said. "When Diego Barocio came in (to pitch in relief), they couldn't touch him. He kept the ball down, threw strikes and threw lights-out."

Oswego finished with five hits from Holm, Pieroni, Gengler, junior Austin Schlaker and Wilson. Holm posted two of three RBIs for the Panthers.

Last Friday, Morris defeated Oswego, 1-0, when the Redskins scored the lone run of the game in the bottom of the sixth.

The Panthers had just two hits (senior Charlie Jakubowski and junior Dominick Lukowski). Senior Blake Sempetrean took the tough loss after he gave up five hits, three walks and five strikeouts in six innings of work.

The four-game losing streak was snapped after Oswego defeated Joliet Central, 14-4 in five innings on the road on Saturday.

The Panthers scored three times in the top of the first, four in the second, twice in the third and five times in the fifth. They had 16 hits, including four from Gengler, three from Jakubowski and two each from Wilson, Rakosnik, junior Zach Sparkman and sophomore Carter Turnquist. Sparkman led the way in RBIs with three and Turnquist, Gengler and Rakosnik each had two.

Gengler earned the win after he gave up four hits, one walk and three strikeouts in five innings on the mound.

On Tuesday in Game 1 of the conference series against Minooka, the Indians won, 9-4.

Minooka led 4-2 after three innings. After a scoreless fourth, both teams scored twice in the fifth before the Indians scored once in the sixth and twice in the seventh. The Panthers had seven hits with Rakosnik and Wilson each with two hits. Rakosnik had both RBIs.

Game 2 of the series was scheduled for Wednesday but results were not available at press time. The series will wrap up today, Thursday, at home at 6:30 p.m.

On Saturday, the Panthers are at Kaneland for a 10 a.m. non-conference contest.

On Monday, they are hosting Naperville North in a rescheduled game from March 27. On Tuesday, the conference series with Plainfield South begins on the road at 4:15 p.m.

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