By: Jon Zaghloul
Crestwood, Ill. – July 12, 2020 – The Panthers (3-6) had been in this situation before. In fact, in two out of the team’s past three contests, they had jumped out to an early, imposing lead, only to relinquish it in the late innings. And, similar to their loss on Thursday night to Southland, Crestwood was unable to mount a late-game comeback, falling 10-6 to the DuPage County Hounds (6-2) on Sunday afternoon.
The action began in the second inning, as Hounds’ starting pitcher Malik Binns walked the bases loaded. Jacob Young (Fairmont State University / Lisle, Ill.) then grounded into a fielder’s choice, plating a run in the process. The very next hitter, Cameron Bufford (Grambling State University / South Holland, Ill.), was hit by a pitch, and subsequently recorded an RBI, giving the Panthers an early 2-1 lead.
The bases, however, were still loaded when Reggie Brock (Chicago State / Chicago, Ill.) stepped up to the plate, and delivered a dramatic grand slam home run to deep left field. That pushed Crestwood ahead by five runs, which, in turn, gave Max Rundberg (Coppin State University / Chicago, Ill.) a comfortable cushion on the mound. In 5 1/3 innings of work, Rundberg allowed just three runs and struck out four Hounds hitters, initially setting up the Panthers for their third-straight win.
“Max did a great job for us,” manager Isaac Valdez said. “He just throws strikes with multiple pitches, and he’s a finesse guy. And because he’s able to do that, he makes his fastball look faster than it really is, and that keeps hitters off balance. But, when a guy pitches that well, we have to do a better job of getting the win for him.”
Once Rundberg’s outing had ended, DuPage County began their comeback bid, striking for nine runs in the game’s final four innings. Meanwhile, for Crestwood, the team was unable to score any additional runs outside of that six-run second inning. Valdez attributed that anomaly to the Panthers’ focus during the middle innings.
“We’re just not staying focused after getting out to these early leads,” Valdez said. “That’s why the game got away from us today in the middle innings. These guys have got to stay in the game at all times for the team to be successful.”
Although Crestwood’s two-game win streak was snapped, they will have a chance to redeem themselves on Monday afternoon, as they take on the Joliet Generals. Coverage begins at 1 p.m. on the Generals’ Broadcast Network, available via Facebook Live.
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