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Shaking off the rust : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Shaking off the rust
Mixed results leave Cats at 5-4 overall in advance of doubleheader

by Laura M. Medina


To this point, the Oswego Cats' season has been consistently inconsistent, as evidenced by another weekend of mixed results. With a packed schedule on the horizon, however, the team has an opportunity to start something positive.

Oswego (5-4) began its 2014 campaign with three losses in four games and followed it up with three wins in the next four. Most recently, the Cats split a doubleheader at Crystal Lake, falling 11-10 in a close opening-game loss and winning a 12-2 rout in five innings in the nightcap in Chicago Suburban Baseball League competition on Sunday afternoon.

But they followed it up with Tuesday night's 5-1 win versus the Chicago Angels on a walk-off grand slam by Tom Ozlanski (Aurora University) in the 11th inning. It was the first of six games in six days.

While the Cats are already off to a solid start during this extensive stretch, they'll need to string a few more victories together to find some real stability.

"We've been so back and forth both with consistency in our schedule and from a time-off standpoint," Cats field manager Todd Miller said. "Hopefully, the weather cooperates this week, and we can get in a groove and stay on track."

In Game 1 on Sunday, Oswego trailed 7-3, but tied it up with a four-run effort in the sixth. Crystal Lake came back with two more in the bottom half, but the Cats responded with a go-ahead three-run rally in the seventh. A couple of bounces ended in the Cardinals' favor, however, and the home side walked off with the 11-10 win.

"Ultimately, I think with the entire week off (since a win on June 8), we knew we were going to be a little rusty," Miller said. "We didn't play well defensively. We kept scratching and plated four runs to get right back in the game, but we traded runs for the last few innings.

"We were frustrated from the standpoint that we were right there. It was a frustrating way to lose."

Despite the outcome, Kevin Loukota (Northeastern Illinois University) went 1-for-5 with two RBIs, Adam Lipscomb (Aurora University) hit 2-for-5 with an RBI and three runs, and Chris Hill (North Central University) went 4-for-5 with an RBI and a run.

Devin Ambrose (Tiffin University) batted 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs, while Tom Colletti (Ohio University) for the Cats, who were unable to provide ample support for left-hander Tom Findlay (Aurora University) and right-handed reliever Ottavio Dattolo (Aurora University).

Findlay conceded seven runs - six earned - and seven hits, as well as four walks, in five innings, while Dattolo took the loss after giving up four runs and six hits in 1 2-3 innings.

Game 2 saw Oswego hammer out 16 hits in a 12-2, five-inning win that Miller described as "redemption."

Right-hander Kyle Ayers allowed seven hits, two runs, and two walks, fanning seven in five innings, while Loukota led the way in the batter's box, going 4-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs.

"We're right where we want to be," Miller said.

Colletti went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, and Ryan O'Dell (Edgewood College) hit 3-for-4 with two RBIs, while Rick Tormey (Hamline University) was 1-for-3 with two RBIs.

Miller hopes Sunday's performance, amid the alternating results, is the spark his young team needs as the schedule intensifies.

"We didn't get off to the start we wanted to, but we're confident we can get back on track as the week goes on," he said.

"Our young guys want to play; they're hungry, and when they're in, they play hard. They're playing solid, and that's what we've gotten so far."

Oswego returns to Jackie's Field of Dreams today, Thursday, against the Joliet Dirtbags at 7:30 p.m. before heading to Augustana College to face Quad Cities in a doubleheader on Saturday. Sunday's twinbill against Homestead is Sunday afternoon at home.


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