By: Jon Zaghloul
Crestwood, Ill. – July 21, 2020 – For those who were previously unaware, Eddie Wilkins (University of Illinois-Springfield / Braidwood, Ill.) has quietly continued his dominant run from the 2019 MCL season. And on Tuesday evening, he officially made his presence known here in 2020, as he shut down a potent DuPage County Hounds (9-5) lineup en route to a 4-1 Panthers (6-8) win.
In his strong outing, Wilkins tossed a complete game, while surrendering just one run and striking out seven hitters against one walk. Overall on the season, Wilkins’ earned run average now stands at 3.85, and his strikeout total of 19 stands as one of the highest marks in the league. Similar to last year, he has consistently stymied batters at the plate, while tallying strikeouts at an excessively high rate.
Offensively speaking, the contest proved to be quite an anomaly for the Panthers, as the team struck out a total of 16 times, yet still managed to secure the victory. Scoring began in the first as Jake Rybarski (Belmont Abbey College / Spring Grove, Ill.) laced an RBI single to center field, plating Donavan Noble (South Suburban College / Chicago, Ill.) who had previously reached on a lead-off base-hit.
Then, in the second, Crestwood struck again, as catcher Scott Richards (Moraine Valley CC / Orland Park, Ill.) drove in Lawrence Noble (Coppin State University / Chicago, Ill.) for an RBI single, before Cameron Bufford (Grambling State University / South Holland, Ill.) launched a two-RBI double to deep center field. That extra base-hit, and the subsequent RBIs, made Bufford the first Panther to reach a double-digit RBI total, as he now leads the team with 11.
From that point on, however, the Panthers did not score another run, allowing Wilkins, instead, to curb the Hounds’ threat at the plate. And on the defensive side of the baseball, the Panthers only committed one error, giving Wilkins the opportunity to fully settle in on the mound.
Tuesday’s win marked Crestwood’s third in a row, which also set a franchise record for the longest win streak in team history. The Panthers will look to build upon that on Wednesday afternoon, as they oppose the Southland Vikings from Dowling Park. Coverage begins at 5 p.m. on the Panthers’ Broadcast Network, available via Facebook Live.
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