By: Jon Zaghloul
Crestwood, Ill. – July 17, 2020 – For two hours and twenty minutes on Friday afternoon, both the Crestwood Panthers (4-8) and MCL Minutemen (3-9) played near-flawless baseball. The two clubs combined for only one error, and each team’s respective starting pitcher outlasted the six inning mark. In the end, however, Crestwood’s timely hitting, more specifically, an Andrew Tenison (Moraine Valley CC / Orland Park, Ill.) home run in the ninth, proved to be the difference-maker, as the Panthers won 5-4.
The action began in the second inning, as Minutemen first baseman Patrick Doran (College of DuPage / Chicago, Ill.) launched a solo home run to right field, yet the Panthers answered right back via a Reggie Brock (Chicago State / Chicago, Ill.) sacrifice flyout. The score would stay tied until fourth, when the Minutemen recorded a sacrifice groundout, but from there, both offenses went silent.
It then became an intense pitcher’s duel between Panthers starter Max Engstrom (Indiana Wesleyan / Hickory Hills, Ill.) and his Minutemen opposition in Matthew Lelito (Kankakee CC / Merrillville, Ind.). Engstrom and Lelito each surrendered four runs, although Lelito did last eight innings and a surprising 146 pitches. As manager Isaac Valdez mentioned, though, Engstrom did an “outstanding” job in keeping Crestwood in the game.
“Max did an outstanding job for us today,” Valdez said. “Max definitely deserved the win today considering the way he pitched, but Breven Daugherity (Chicago State / Joliet, Ill.) came in and just missed barrels. He did a great job in continuing what Max was doing, and his defense behind made the plays they needed to make.”
Daugherity, in relief, dealt three shutout innings, while allowing just one hit against three strikeouts en route to his second win of the year. According to Valdez, his performance late in the game served as a true key to the eventual end result.
“Breven could not have pitched any better,” Valdez said. “And I don’t know how he does it, but he just missed barrels on the mound. No one is able to square him up well, and that really helped us late in this game.”
Crestwood’s bats awoke once more in the seventh, as Tenison broke a 2-2 tie by lining an RBI single to right field. After the Minutemen countered with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the frame, Donavan Noble (South Suburban College / Chicago, Ill.) grounded a clutch RBI single to left field, plating runner Riley Beck (Purdue University-Northwest / Cedar Rapids, Iowa.) and thus tying the game at four. Then, in the top of the ninth, with two outs already recorded, Tenison struck again, delivering what would be a game-winning solo home run to deep right field.
“We found a way to pull it out and got some big knocks near the end,” Valdez said. “Noble’s hit was huge to tie the game up, and then Tenison just kept his hands back and did his thing at the plate. It was a great job and a great win.”
The Panthers return to action on Saturday afternoon against the Joliet Generals. For updates, please follow along on the GameChanger app, as there will be no live broadcast.
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