Tigers' 7-run fourth inning leads the North past the South in Plainfield's 'Civil War'
Last updated 5/30/2021 at 10:31am
In their final Southwest Prairie Conference crossover on Saturday, the SPC West's Plainfield North Tigers and the SPC East's Plainfield South Cougars met in another edition of Plainfield's Civil War.
Trailing 1-0 as the game entered the bottom of the fourth, the Tigers (16-9) scored seven runs, six after two outs, and roll to a 7-1 victory.
Plainfield North starting and winning pitcher Ethan Cook (3-1) allowed an unearned run and three hits in his game-winning, 5 2/3 innings of work on the mound. Junior Alec Mickenbecker closed out South with 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.
"We started slow and then in the fourth inning our bats got hot and gave me a seven-run cushion," Cook said. "Coach (Darlington) felt that I had given everything I had to help us win, when he brought in Alec Mickenbecker in the sixth. Alec really helped us to close out the game."
Plainfield North senior third baseman, Noah Dutler doubled to lead off the fateful fourth against Plainfield South starting and losing pitcher Cade Homerding (3 2/3 IP, 3R, 3H,3ER, 3K 3BB). Sophomore John St. Clair walked and freshman Aiden Simmons got plunked to load the bases with no outs.
Tiger senior Dom Curcio tied the game at 1-1 with a sac-fly, scoring Dutler.
Homerding picked up a huge strikeout for the second out of the inning, before walking Tigers lead off man Jake Rock to reload the bases.
Homerding (3-2) exited and Cougars senior reliever Gio Herrera entered the game for South.
Sophomore Luke Brown came up with a huge, pinch-hit single just out of the reach of Cougars shortstop Tylor Phommachanhom to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead. Brown's hit ignited the Tiger bats.
The Tigers leading hitter, junior Brandon Bak (.373), ripped a clutch two-out, two-run double to give the Tigers a 4-1 lead. In his second at bat of the inning Dutler, got his second hit of the inning, this time with a two-run single, extending the Tigers lead to 6-1.
"Great at bats for all of us in the fourth inning," Dutler said. "I had two great at bats with the big double to left and then taking a good pitch down the right field line for the single. Ethan Cook was phenomenal on the mound for us today. He threw strikes for us and accomplished what we are taught here at Plainfield North.
"It is always nice to beat South."
St. Clair would come through with another clutch, two-out, RBI single, to conclude the seven-run, Tigers fourth inning.
With his two RBI in the game, Bak takes over the Tigers team lead with 24, passing senior Alex Brodie, who has 22 ribbies. Dutler, also slips past Brodie with his two RBI, increasing his season total to 23.
The Cougars (15-6) were led by Tylor Phommachanhom who went 2-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base for South. Phommachanhom singled to lead off the game, went to second and third on Cook wild pitches and scored on a passed ball for the only run for the Cougars, in the first inning.
"One big inning and Ethan (Cook) pitched well for us today," Plainfield North coach John Darlington said. "We'd like to pick up a couple wins before the tournament. We're starting four sophomores and a freshman and we will just see what happens after that."
The 2021 IHSA Class 4A State Baseball Tournament commences on Wednesday with play-in games.
Plainfield North and South will compete in the IHSA Class 4A Crestwood Supersectional (Sectional 6 Complex).
Plainfield South garnered the No.2 seed in sectional and will host Batavia (15) in a regional semifinal on Friday June 4. A Cougar win over Batavia would keep them at home against the winner of the other Regional B semifinal between Romeoville (10) and Naperville North (7) for the Regional B championship game on Monday June 7 at 4:30 p.m.
Plainfield North was awarded the No. 3 seed in the Sectional 6 Complex. The Tigers will host Bolingbrook (14) in a Regional C semifinal on Friday June 4. A win will keep the Tigers on the North Side for a Regional C Championship game against the winner of the June 4 semifinal between Yorkville (6) and Oswego East (11), on Monday June 7, at 4:30 p.m.
If the Cougars and Tigers are fortunate to win their respective Regional Championships, they would meet at South, for a Sectional 6 semifinal at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday June 9.