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Pitching a victory : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Pitching a victory
Dominant effort on the mound sparks two-game win streak for Oswego Cats

by Laura M. Medina


Dominant pitching and timely hitting served as the backdrop for the Oswego Cats' 12-0 win in seven innings on Tuesday night at Jackie's Field of Dreams in Chicago Suburban Baseball League competition.

It was Oswego's second straight win following a four-game slide from June 26-29. The team had won four straight heading into last Thursday's home game, but the streak was snapped by a 2-0 home loss to the Chicago Angels. Tough times continued on Saturday against Romeoville, which swept a doubleheader by identical 2-1 scores at Jackie's Field of Dreams.

On Sunday, the Cats (11-9, 9-7) dropped the twinbill opener at Beecher 3-0 before responding in the nightcap with a 9-2 win.

If nothing else, the latest stretch has demonstrated their ability to succeed amid adversity.

"We hit the ball really well (Tuesday)," Cats field manager Todd Miller said. "We had contributions from everyone, and we executed very well. It's always night to see the bats come alive.

"We had hits to extend innings and move the runners. It's been a tough couple games for us dating back to last Thursday, so it's nice to see us contribute well."

The Cats have totaled 21 runs in their last two games after being outscored 9-2 during the skid. They muscled out 20 hits in that span but struggled to cross the plate.

On Tuesday, Oswego started its offensive barrage slowly, going ahead 1-0 in the first behind some heads-up base-running by second baseman Adam Lipscomb (Aurora University).

Three more runs came in the third, as first baseman Kevin Loukota (Northeastern Illinois University) drove two runs home on a long double to the left field wall. Two batters later, third baseman Jose Camacho (Waubonsee Community College) brought another run in on his groundout for the 4-0 advantage.

"Everything was clicking, and that's the way we can play. That's how I know our offense works," Miller said. "We had great hit-and-run situations, and that puts a little more concentration on the hitter, because he knows he's gotta make contact. A lot of good things come out of (Tuesday night)."

Two more runs crossed the plate in the fourth. Right fielder Sam Komel (Flagler College) singled and came home on a steal, and four batters later, centerfielder Clay Schuler (Valparaiso University) had an RBI-single to bring Lipscomb around for the 6-0 lead.

Oswego's biggest inning came during its six-run fifth. Catcher Zach Deutscher (North Park University) kicked off the rally with a two-run double that plated Ryan O'Dell (Edgewood College) and Camacho. Komel reached on an error and eventually scored on a passed ball.

Later in the inning, Loukota scored two more runs on a single to right for the 12-0 margin.

"Everybody's contributing, and everybody's been playing a part," Miller said.

Miller was most pleased with Oswego's pitching lately, including Tuesday's efforts from right-hander Cody Love (Aurora University). In six innings, he gave up two hits and a walk, while striking out nine including six straight in the fifth and sixth.

"Love was dead on (Tuesday night), and that's following up his game at Quad Cities (on June 21). He was solid, he knows how to pitch, and that's big," Miller said.

Right-hander Dominick Tatone (Judson University) closed out the game with a strong seventh and continued the Cats' latest run of strong mound work.

"(During our losing streak), we gave up two, two, two and three runs, so our pitching has been outstanding; it's just too bad that we've wasted some of those efforts by not getting any runs," Miller said. "Three runs in a couple of games, and we come out on the other side, so that's been frustrating.

"We've probably had only one bad outing all year. If we can put four or five runs on the board, we're going to come out and win every single night, I have no doubt about it. Our defense sometimes gets a little shaky, but the pitchers rise above that and pitch out of it."

Following consecutive busy weeks, Oswego looks forward to enjoying an extended holiday break over the next few days, as it doesn't return to Jackie's Field of Dreams until Sunday's doubleheader against Michigan City, with game one slated for noon.

The Cats follow it up with a rare weeknight doubleheader versus visiting Lombard on Wednesday ahead of the CSBL All Star Game on July 10.

"We want to get on a little roll here and put some things together," Miller said. "We've got a new team coming in Michigan City. We've never seen them, but we're going to use that to get everybody to throw and get everybody in. We'll start Kelse Gengler (North Central College) in one of those games and Kyle Doney (Waubonsee Community College) in the other, and we'll see how Doney bounces back.

"We'll just build on what we have here. We'll work in what we can with those guys. They know they have to perform; they know they have to come out and do well. Some of the guys are really starting to find their places here. We hit that little low spot, and it happens. We went into a funk, but we're okay."

Notes: While the Cats' offense was seemingly ineffective during their losing streak, they came out firing on all cylinders in Sunday's win over Beecher in game two behind 12 hits. O'Dell led the way with a 2-for-4 performance in which he tallied four RBIs.

Schuler went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, while Loukota, Tom Ozlanski (Aurora University) and Rick Tormey (Hamline University) each hit 2-for-4. Schuler, O'Dell and Tormey also homered in that contest to back right-hander Josh Kwasny (Aurora University).

Kwasny gave up two runs, four hits, three walks and hit a batter in his complete-game effort for his first win of the season.

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