By Drake Skleba
For the Bugle 

Indians fall 1-0 as Oswego clinches SPC West championship


Last updated 5/26/2021 at 9:11am

After Oswego's 14-1 in five-inning, Southwest Prairie Conference West victory over Minooka on Monday, the Panthers (17-6, 10-4) were one victory away from an SPC West series win and an outright SPC West title.

On Tuesday at Oswego's Jackie's Field of Dreams, the host Panthers defeated the Indians 1-0.

With the win, the Panthers wrap up the best-of-three SPC West series and claim the 2021 outright SPC West championship. The two clubs will conclude their three game series in Minooka on Thursday.

A Minooka (15-10, 9-5) win on Thursday will give both teams 10-5 SPC West records. Based on the head-to-head 2-1 Oswego advantage, the Panthers are SPC West Champions.

On Tuesday, Minooka freshman right-hander Ryan Anderson and Oswego's senior southpaw Jeff Behrends were matched-up in an old-fashioned pitcher's duel.

The game was scoreless as it headed into the Oswego bottom of the sixth.

Panther No. 8 hitter Nathan Bradford led off the sixth with a single. Anderson picked up his fourth strikeout of the game for the first out of the inning and retire Panther leadoff man Gavin Arseneau on a fly ball to Indians centerfielder Mitch Thomas.

Panther junior Joel Johnson tripled over the head of Indian left fielder Joey Gould and Bradford scored the only run of the game.

In the Indians top of the seventh, senior Brendan Valdez singled and stole second base. Behrends retired the last Indians hope for the 1-0 SPC West championship victory.

In the top of the first inning, on singles by juniors Ivan Dahlberg and Caleb Parker, the Indians had Behrends in a jam. The Panther southpaw, with Indian runners on second and third and one out would escape, by retiring the final two Indian hitters in the inning.

"We had opportunities to score early today and did not take advantage of them," Minooka coach Jeff Petrovic said. "We have struggled to get the clutch hit as of late."

The 15-year old Anderson was magnificent on the mound for Minooka.

Anderson fired a four-hitter with four strikeouts and did not walk a batter.

"I went out on the mound today and gave it everything I had to help us get the victory," Anderson said. "My fastball was my best pitch and my off speed pitches were working as well."

"Ryan Anderson — what an amazing talent," Petrovic concluded. "He gave us everything he could to help us get the victory. Before Ryan is finished here at Minooka, he will have accomplished amazing things."


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