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Swinging for the fences : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Swinging for the fences
Oswego East uses big first inning to take lead, holds on late against Waubonsie Valley

by Kristin Sharp


The Oswego East summer baseball team was ready at the opening pitch, and the quick start served the Wolves well in the first game of the St. Charles East Regional on Monday.

The Wolves (16-10) entered as the No. 4 seed and played host to No. 13 Waubonsie Valley, defeating the Warriors 5-3 to advance to Tuesday's game.

"Both teams came out swinging and I think both pitchers settled in real nice," Oswego East head coach Bobby Kaminski said. "Mike (Zalud) was locating real well and keeping guys off balance. He did a heckuva job all day long and competed his butt off. I'm proud of his effort."

Waubonsie Valley opened the game with a double from leadoff hitter Luke Marzano, who came around to score on Nick Price's RBI double to left field for the 1-0 lead. Oswego East had even more highlights to start the first inning, with consecutive singles from JT Schurr, Noah Anderson and Vince Schwartz loading the bases for Sam Cummings.

Cummings dragged the ball down the third base line to bring in Schurr and Anderson for a 2-1 lead, and Tyler Linna followed with an RBI hit. Waubonsie Valley made a double play on Garrett Goetz's hit to third base, but Cummings was able to score on the play for a 4-1 game.

The hits continued in the second inning, with a one-out single and a walked batter for Waubonsie Valley before Marzano hit a two-run shot to left field for a 4-3 score.

The next two innings were quiet, with Zalud and Waubonsie Valley's Preston Everts keeping the game close.

"The defense played well behind me, so I just threw strikes," Zalud said.

A one-out walk in the fifth led to a defensive highlight for the Wolves as Linna threw out a baserunner at second, and Zalud struck out his next batter to close the inning.

Oswego East knocked in one more run in the bottom of the fifth. Zalud singled and advanced on Schurr's single. Anderson was out on a well-executed bunt to advance the runners, and Schwartz stepped up for a sacrifice RBI for a 5-3 game.

"I felt like we had opportunities every inning, but with both teams, if we had our leadoff runner on, we were going to score," Kaminski said.

"All around I'm real proud of their effort."

Waubonsie Valley threatened Oswego East's lead in the top of the sixth, loading the bases with one out after a double, a single and a walked batter. But center fielder Jack Borvan quickly relayed a fly ball back to the infield to hold the runners, and Schurr roped in a ball in right field to leave all three runners stranded.

"We hit the ball; we hit the ball hard. That's just baseball," Waubonsie Valley head coach Dan Fezzouglio said. "Preston had that first inning and then he bared down and kept us in the game. He did his job after that and that's all you can ask. We just could not string the big hit to get us back in it and give us some confidence."

Waubonsie Valley opened the seventh with a double, and Andrew Stout came on in relief of Zalud. Matt Rohde made a diving catch on a ball caught by the wind in left field, and Stout struck out his next two batters to end the game.

"Stout was in our starting rotation this past spring and we know what he's capable of. He's been with another team this summer and we haven't used him a ton this summer because he's been pitching a lot with his other team," Kaminski said. "When he told me he only threw 50 pitches over the weekend, I was pretty excited that we'd have him to lean on if the situation arose. That was good."

Notes: Oswego East experienced a wild end to its summer season on Tuesday, falling to Crystal Lake South by a score of 5-3 in 12 innings at Oswego East.

"We would have liked to have been on the winning side, but we had a successful summer and had a lot of fun doing it," Kaminski said.

"We were excited. We talked for awhile after the game about the summer and the upcoming spring and I'm really excited about this group. They have good team chemistry and good leadershihp. Because of those things, and the talent of the guys we have coming back, I'm excited about the guys coming in and filling the other spots."

Crystal Lake scored single runs in the first and second innings, and Oswego East broke onto the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth to take a 3-2 lead thanks to Borvan's RBI double.

Oswego East nearly closed out the one-run win in the bottom of the seventh. With two outs and no one on base, a hit batter and a single gave Crystal Lake Central a pair of baserunners. Kaminski made a pitching change, relieving Jake Leonar after 6 2/3 innings with Stout.

Crystal Lake knocked out a ground ball up the first base line to score one run and tie the game at 3.

"We weren't really a threat offensively in the bottom of the seventh, and we had two great opportunities in the ninth and 11th innings," Kaminski said. "Sam drilled a line drive to center field and couldn't have hit it any harder; it was just right to someone."

Chandler Stitch relieved Stout and got Oswego East out of a jam late in the game. With runners at second and third with one out, the Wolves' defense held strong to keep the game tied.

In the 11th inning, Oswego East had a runner at second with two outs, and for the second time Crystal Lake intentionally walked Schwartz to keep the force on and bring Cummings to the plate. He hit a line drive, but the outfielder made a running catch at the wall to get Crystal Lake out of the jam.

Because Schwartz re-entered the game to hit for Stitch, Kaminski went to Leonard in the top of the 12th inning. Crystal Lake knocked out a two-run home run, which proved to be the difference in the game.

Last week, Oswego East went 2-2 in the Rt. 59 Wood Bat Classic last week, defeating Metea Valley 14-7 in the final game at North Central College on July 9. Previously, the team lost to Oswego in eight innings, and split Day 2, defeating Waubonsie Valley before falling to Neuqua Valley. In the championship game, Yorkville defeated Neuqua Valley, 3-1.

"That tournament is like a playoff atmosphere, so we had good intensity and good effort from the bench and the guys on the field," Kaminski said.

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