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Tigers southpaw Simmons turns the lights out on Oswego, in game two of huge SPC West series

In the Southwest Prairie Conference West Division, the two schools predicted by many, to take home the 2021 conference championship are Plainfield North Tigers or the Panthers of Oswego.

On Monday, in the first game of their crucial SPC West three-game series in Plainfield, the Tigers won 9-6.

In game two of the series, at Oswego's historic Jackie's Field of Dreams Stadium on Tuesday, the Tigers prevailed again by a 9-6 score.

This game came down to one complete inning of the contest. The Oswego (5-2,0-2), bottom of the third and the Tigers (5-0, 2-0) top of the fourth.

In the bottom of the third inning, Panthers senior Gabe Arsenau put the Panthers up 3-2 on a three-run double against Tigers starting pitcher Brandon Bak (2IP, 4R 3H 4ER, 2K 5BB). Bak totally shut down Oswego in the first two innings before running into control trouble in the third.

After Arcenau's double, Bak reloaded the bases with nobody out.

Enter Plainfied North senior left-hander Austin Simmons.

Simmons induced a 4-6-3 double-play, which went Dom Curcio to Ryan Nelson to Aidan Campbell, on which Oswego scored a run and extend the Panther lead to 4-2. Simmons got the final out of the Panther third on a tapper back to the mound.

4-2 Oswego after three.

The Tigers top of the fourth.

Monday's hero, junior Dylan Evans, got plunked for the first of his two hit-by-pitches in the game to lead off the inning.

Senior Dom Curcio (0-for-1, 3BB,3R) worked his second of what would be three bases on balls in the game. Tigers junior catcher Matt Barribal, attempting to sacrifice, laid down a perfect bunt single to load the bases.

"I went up to the plate with the mindset of just getting the bunt down," Marribal said. "It felt great to lay down a perfect bunt for the single to load the bases."

The charity of the host Panthers continued.

Bak was plunked for an RBI the hard way, pulling the Tigers within 4-3. Senior Jake Rock (1-for-4, 2B,2RBI) tied the game at 4-4 on an RBI ground out.

On the first pitch, Tiger senior Alex Brodie (1-for-3 BB RBI) ripped an RBI single to left, scoring courtesy-runner Ethan Cook giving the Tigers a 5-4 lead. The Tigers extended the lead to 7-4 on another tough RBI on a hit-by-pitch from senior Adam Smith and a RBI ground out from Ryan Nelson.

"I wasn't even supposed to swing at the pitch that I gave us the lead with on the RBI single," Brodie said.

Simmons (1-0) allowed just one earned run in his five game-winning innings of relief, allowing just five hits.

"Entering the game with the bases loaded and no outs and already trailing 3-2, I knew I had to roll out a double play ball," Simmons said. "I was very happy when I was able to do just that and get out of the inning unscathed. My curve ball was my best pitch and I did a good job of keeping Oswego off-balance. We go for the sweep at home on Thursday."

"Austin (Simmons) was dealing out there today for us," Barriball said."For the second day in a row we have received great work from our relievers. We look for the sweep on Thursday."

"The sweep on Thursday?" Brodie concluded. "That is the plan."

"Austin (Simmons) was outstanding for us and saved us by getting out of the bases-loaded, no out situation, with only one run scored," Plainfield North coach John Darlington said. "It wasn't pretty, but we won. I guess we have to score nine runs every game until we get this straightened out. Brandon (Bak) got a clutch RBI single in the seventh to give us an insurance run."


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