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Mistakes prove costly for Oswego : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Mistakes prove costly for Oswego
Plainfield East rebounds after 2-0 deficit, wins 13-5 in regionals

by Kristin Sharp


The team that makes the fewest errors usually wins the game, and unfortunately that phrase held true against the Oswego baseball team on Monday.

The No. 17-seed Panthers traveled to No. 15 Plainfield East for the opening round of the Class 4A Plainfield Central Regional and committed eight errors before dropping a 13-5 game to the Bengals and end their season with a 12-21 overall record.

Plainfield East (15-18-1) advanced to Wednesday's regional semifinal game against No. 2 Waubonsie Valley, but results were unavailable at press time. No. 7 Yorkville meets No. 12 Plainfield Central today, Thursday, in the second semifinal game, with the regional final slated for Saturday at 11 a.m.

"We walked the first two guys and came out of the gates looking a little rough, but (starting pitcher) Mitch (Coughlin) settled down and we didn't make any true mistakes on defense. We minimized the situation and kept it close, and then the bats finally woke up and we pulled away," Plainfield East head coach Adam O'Reel said. "I thought we did a good job putting pressure on them, and they ended up making mistakes and we took advantage of them."

Oswego, playing the visitors on the scoreboard with the higher seed, struck first on the scoreboard. Coughlin walked senior left fielder Charlie Jakubowski and sophomore center fielder Konor Gengler to start the game, and Jakubowski scored on senior shortstop Mitch Wilson's double to the right field fence.

Sophomore starter Carter Turnquist sent Coughlin's first pitch to left field, driving home Wilson for a 2-0 Oswego lead. Junior infielder Jake Rock hit a two-out single, but Oswego left both runners stranded on an infield ground out.

Plainfield East got one run back in the bottom half of the first on a throwing error after Turnquist walked his first batter, but Oswego's defense created a double play to end the frame.

The Bengals took the lead in the bottom of the second, driving in three runs on four hits and two Oswego errors.

Coughlin and Plainfield East senior Nick Novak singled, and a pair of runs scored on Oswego throwing errors before Plainfield East senior Jordan Dobyne's RBI single to center field gave the Bengals a 4-2 lead.

"The last two weeks we've been playing really well - throwing strikes, making the easy plays - and we beat these guys two out of three last week," Oswego head coach Mark Johnson said. "Today we kicked the ball around it was just like we were doing in March. I don't know if we were too excited for the game, but it was uncharacteristic of how we've played the past two weeks."

Oswego left two runners stranded in the top of the third when Wilson singled and junior designated hitter Zach Sparkman reached on a Plainfield East error. The Bengals expanded their lead to 5-2 in the bottom half of the inning when junior Mike McGee hit a ground-rule double and scored on an Oswego error.

Johnson called junior Marty Maves out of the dugout to relieve Turnquist with one out on the board after a nice diving catch by Jakubowski in left field. Senior Brad Whowell made an out in right field and Plainfield East left one runner on base.

After an unproductive inning for Oswego to start the fourth, Plainfield East added three more runs for an 8-2 lead. Bengal senior Jovany Urbieta singled with the bases loaded to drive in one run, and another Oswego East error allowed two more runs to score. With two outs on the board, Coughlin tried to send a line drive through Rock at second base, but he made a diving catch for the stop and threw to Oswego senior catcher Jeff Pieroni, who made the play at home for the last out.

Rock hit a two-out single in the fifth and Pieroni followed up with a double to put runners in scoring position for senior Blake Sempetrean, who walked to load the bases. Rock scored on a passed ball, but a fly out to center field left both runners stranded for the Panthers.

Plainfield East knocked out four hits in the bottom of the fifth to take an 11-3 lead over Oswego, and senior Jerome Minick relieved Maves with one out on the board. He threw to Sempetrean at first to pick off one runner, and struck out his first batter to end the inning.

Oswego loaded the bases in the top of the sixth with no outs after Jakubowski reached on an error and Gengler and Wilson both walked.

Turnquist had a sacrifice RBI and Rock drove in the next run with a single to left field, but Jordan Hartanovich - pithing in relief of Coughlin to start the frame - struck out two and left two runners stranded for Oswego.

"We've got good kids. A lot of these seniors are good in the classroom, good character kids," Johnson said. "We had guys on second and third in three innings and first and second a few innings and we didn't get the hit; they did. That's what it came down to. The kids battled and they're going to work hard all the time."

Oswego's defensive struggles were compounded in the bottom of the sixth. After a single to center field, Urbieta attempted to steal second, but was stopped halfway between the base. The toss from first to second was dropped, allowing Urbieta to safely reach second, and the ensuing throw to second was also bobbled, allowing Urbieta to reach third. An overthrow to third base allowed Urbieta to score - all while Plainfield East's second batter was still waiting for his net pitch.

With two outs, Plainfield East senior Jeremy Dutton capped the scoring with a solo home run over the center field fence, and Hartanovich faced just three batters in the top of the seventh to seal Plainfield East's postseason win.

The teams had fresh scouting reports on each other, having faced off in a three-game series last week. Oswego won the series 2-1, with an 8-2 victory on May 20 and a 3-2 win on May 22. Plainfield East captured a 6-4 win in between.

"They beat us twice, so it was nice for us to bounce back and not feel defeated by that," O'Reel said. "We didn't through Coughlin during that series until today. It's how it is with baseball. All of a sudden it wakes up. Our bats were dead last week."

Notes: Prior to the playoffs, Oswego played games on May 21, last Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

On May 21, Plainfield East defeated Oswego, 6-4. The Bengals scored all six runs in the bottom of the second after the Panthers scored all four of their runs in the first and second innings.

The Panthers ended up with five hits - two were from Wilson. He also had one of the three team RBIs. Jakubowski had the other two.

Last Thursday, Oswego defeated Plainfield East, 3-2. The game was tied at 1 after two innings before the Panthers scored twice in the bottom of the third. The Bengals scored their second run in the top of the seventh.

Jakubowski had two of the Panthers' five hits and Wilson and Sparkman each had an RBI.

Last Friday, Oswego beat Plainfield South, 7-5. Wilson had three hits and two RBIs, Sempetrean and Whowell each had two hits and an RBI while Jakubowski and Pieroni each posted a hit and an RBI for the Panthers. Maves earned the win on the mound in relief.

Last Saturday, Yorkville topped Oswego, 6-1. The Panthers scored their run in the seventh and finished with four hits from Wilson, Turnquist, Rock and Gengler.

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