Two-out Minooka Magic leads Indians past Tigers in SPC West series finale
Last updated 5/7/2021 at 12:51am
What a series.
Perennial Southwest Prairie Conference powers, the Minooka Indians (8-5, 5-1) and the Plainfield North Tigers (8-3,3-3) put on a show in their crucial SPC West three-game series this week.
On Monday, the SPC West-leading Indians prevailed 2-1 in Minooka. On Tuesday in Plainfield, the Tigers won a thrilling 4-3 victory to even up the series.
On Thursday, back in Minooka, in the Indians' 4-2 victory, all four Minooka runs were driven home after two outs.
Two out Minooka Magic.
Indian senior catcher Hunter Ryan brought out the first dose on that magic when, with two outs in the bottom of the first, he crushed a booming double scoring junior Ivan Dahlberg, who had walked, for a 1-0 Indians lead.
The Tigers answered with some two out magic of their own in the top of the third inning. Tiger senior Alex Brodie scalded a clutch two out, two-run double to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
The Minooka win on Thursday was No. 401 in the illustrious coaching career of Minooka head coach Jeff Petrovich. In the bottom of the third inning, he provided another example of text book Minooka Indians baseball.
With two out and junior Mitch Thomas on first base, Indian sophomore shortstop Caleb Parker executed one of the most basic elements of Minooka baseball - the bunt single.
"I don't believe any school works harder on bunting than we do," Petrovic said. "Bunting is such a great weapon and our kids all know how to bunt."
Dahlberg (1-for-2, BB, RBI) followed with another clutch two-out RBI single to right to tie the game at 2-2 after three innings.
The Indians' junior centerfielder Mitch Thomas put the Indians up 3-2 with another clutch, two-out RBI single in the bottom of the fourth.
"This was a big win for us and gave us the huge SPC West series win." Thomas said. "We all provided clutch two-out hits to win this game."
In the bottom of the fifth, more Petrovic-style Minooka Indians baseball to pick up a much-needed insurance run against the hard-hitting Tigers.
With two out, Minooka super-soph right fielder Sully Minor singled. Petrovic went to his bench for the fleet-footed pinch-runner, junior Tyler Selvy.
Selvy stole second base and junior Casey Swanson delivered the fourth dose of two-out Minooka magic. Swanson ripped another clutch, two-out RBI single to give the Indians a 4-2 lead.
"People think football is the only sport that the coaches spend hours going over game film, "Petrovic added. "My coaches, Derrick Rapsky, Wes Anderson and Joe Host and I were up late last night talking about the possibility of using Tyler (Selvy) in a late-game stolen base situation.
"Again, I cannot say it enough, the kids have to execute the plays. We can provide them with opportunities but they get all the credit for tonight's big win."
On the mound, Indian senior Jake Cook (3-1) was dealing. Cook fired a four-hitter at the Tigers, striking out five and walking just two.
"Jake was outstanding on the mound for us," Ryan said. "Just one bad pitch to Brodie."
"This was a big win for us," Cook said. "My change-up was my best pitch tonight. It felt good to throw the four-hitter."
The Tigers received another outstanding relief performance from senior left-hander Austin Simmons.
Simmons (2-1) relieved Tigers starting pitcher Tom Fitzgerald in the bottom of the third. Simmons allowed one earned run and four hits in his solid 3 2/3 innings of relief.
"Jake (Cook) was outstanding for us on the mound today," Petrovic added. "To throw a four-hitter against that very solid Tigers lineup, is a credit to how well Jake pitched.
"What a series. Three great games. Both teams played so well. It's always a pleasure to play John's (Plainfield North coach John Darlington) Tigers. Two programs who play baseball the right way."
The Indians improve to 5-1 in the SPC West. The Tigers fall to 3-3.
Oswego (10-3, 4-2) swept away West Aurora 7-0 to move into second place in the SPC West behind the Indians. Yorkville (10-4, 3-3) lost to Oswego East 4-2 to fall into a tie for third place with the Tigers at 3-3.
Yorkville will take on the Indians in a three-game SPC East series beginning in Yorkville on Monday.
The Tigers host the Blackhawks of West Aurora (3-8,1-5) in the opener of their SPC West series on Monday.