Comeback Comes Too Late, Panthers Fall 12-9

By: Jon Zaghloul

Crestwood, Ill. – July 22, 2019 – At best, Crestwood's matchup with the Joliet Generals on Monday night looked bleak, as a nine-run deficit entering the third inning seemingly deflated the Panthers. In the end, however, Crestwood rallied for eight runs over the game's final five innings, even bringing the tying run to the plate in the ninth, before falling to Joliet 12-9. 

For the Panthers on Monday night, it all began with an outstanding performance on the mound from Connor McCloskey (Beloit College / Chicago, Ill.). After coming into the game in the third inning, relieving Breven Daugherity (Chicago State / Joliet, Ill.), McCloskey twirled six impressive innings, scattering three earned runs, while striking out three Generals hitters. Usually, a designated "opener" who lasts two or three innings at most, McCloskey not only set a personal best in innings pitched, but also served as a valuable reinforcement by allowing the Panthers to save pitching, as they begin a stretch of seven games in seven days. 

"Connor did a great job; he did an awesome job, in fact," said Manager Isaac Valdez. "He stopped the bleeding early on, and allowed us to make this game interesting in the later innings. And when you're down 9-0 after two, and then, by the end of the game, you have the tying run at the plate, there's absolutely nothing more that you can ask for. So, he shut them [the Generals] down, and kept us in the game throughout." 

At the plate, Crestwood exercised excellent discipline, drawing nine walks against Joliet pitchers, thus constantly providing an active presence on the basepaths. Reggie Brock Jr. (Chicago State / Chicago, Ill.) recorded one of the team's two stolen bases, while also recording three hits, and two runs scored. Tim Fauth (North Park University / Elk Grove, Ill.) added two hits in five at-bats, scoring a run in the sixth inning to boot. Valdez was pleased with his team's output on the offensive end.

"We were double-digits in hits, and put up nine runs," said Valdez. "Typically, when you have double-digits in hits and you have nine runs, you win those games. But, today, we started out flat, and as I said last week, I was fearful of today, and how we were going to come out after such a long layoff. I'm really surprised that we hit the ball as well as we did, and made contact as much as we did. That just goes to show how talented these guys are."

Considering that Monday night marked Crestwood's second game in ten days, the team's sheer output and miraculous comeback attempt were quite encouraging, to say the least. It further proves the notion that these Panthers, despite their shortcomings throughout the season, are a resilient bunch, and are never willing to let a seemingly-desolate scoreboard impede the pursuit of a comeback.

The Panthers will continue their stretch of seven games in seven days on Tuesday evening, as they take on the Southland Vikings from St. Rita of Cascia High School in Chicago. Coverage begins at 5 p.m. with Will Trubshaw and Jon Zaghloul on the Vikings Broadcast Network, available via Facebook Live. 



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