By Drake Skleba
For the Bugle 

Porter's 9-run first-inning explosion destroys H-F in SWSC Blue opener


Last updated 5/7/2021 at 11:22pm

On a cool, crisp May Friday afternoon, it was Opening Day in the Southwest Suburban Blue at historic, 100-year-old Ed Flink Field.

Opposing the Lockport Porters were the Vikings of Homewood-Flossmoor. On the mound for the Vikings, was their ace, right-hander pitcher, senior Chad Readey.

Readey entered the game with a 3-0 record and a miniscule 0.93 ERA.

After Lockport starting and winning pitcher Lucas Pajeau retired the Vikings (13-4, 0-1) in the top of the first, the return of the Porters murders row entered Ed Flink Field .

The Porters (9-4,1-0) sent 12 men to the plate against Readey (3IP, 13R, 8H.5ER,5K,2BB) and scored nine runs on six hits in the first inning and put their SWSC Blue opener in the W column. The Porters went on to a 16-2, 4 1/2 inning victory.

WJOL/Don Ladas Memorial Tournament MVP, junior Vic Izquierdo, (1-for-2, 2B, SF, 3RBI) got the Porters' party started when he ripped a two-run double that scored seniors Matt Santarelli and Ryan Moerman, who had both hit vicious line drive singles off the stunned Readey. The red-hot Griffin Brown (2-for-3, 2B, RBI) made it 3-0 Porters with his line-drive RBI single, scoring Izquierdo.

The Porters made it 6-0, scoring on a wild pitch and a couple of Viking miscues. With two out and with Riley Pfeffer and Santarelli on base, Moerman (3-for-3, HR, 3RBI) stepped to the plate.

Sending one of his trademark bombs over the center field fence, Moerman's three-run shot made it 9-0 Porters. For Moerman, it was his sixth home run of the season, breaking a tie for area leadership with Joliet West's hard-hitting catcher Ty Batusich, who has five round-trippers.

"We are back," Moerman said. "Readey is a great pitcher and he didn't have his good change-up but 1-through-9 we hit him hard. We scored 55 runs in the six games in the week we won the WJOL/Ladas Tournament and then from April 24-April 30 we did not play. There is no doubt that the lay-off really hurt us, leading to the 1-0 loss to Stagg on April 30.

"This is another six-game week and what have scored now 46 runs in the four games this week. We are really looking forward to tomorrow's doubleheader with a great Marist (15-2) team."

"We knew Readey is a great pitcher but we are back and we were very confident going up against him today," Izquierdo said. "I was not the least bit surprised that we hit so well. This is what we do. All we can do is see what happens, as we face a great Marist team, tomorrow."

The beneficiary of the massive Porters run support was Pajeau, the junior right-hander.

Pajeau struck out nine Viking hitters, allowing only two runs and four hits in his game-winning four innings of work.

"Wow. It sure was nice to have the nine-run cushion to pitch with," Pajeau said. "My curve ball was really working for me and most of my strikeouts came on that pitch. Big day tomorrow at Marist and then back to H-F on Monday. With the way we hit the ball, we are very confident that we will be successful."

Pajeau's battery-mate, junior catcher Matt Merk, had his fourth perfect day at the plate of the season, this time going 3-for-3 with an RBI.

"I am so proud of the way all of our hitters attacked a very good H-F pitcher," Lockport coach Andy Satunas said. "In all my 21-years of coaching, Ryan Moerman is the hardest-working player I have ever coached. Big doubleheader with a great Marist team tomorrow in Chicago and then back to H-F on Monday."


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