By: Jon Zaghloul
Crestwood, Ill. – July 27, 2020 – Although, at one point, the Crestwood Panthers (9-10) had made an initial 8-1 deficit transform into an 8-5 affair, it was not enough to calm the bats of the MCL Minutemen (7-14), who ended up recording a 9-5 victory on Monday evening.
The Panthers had taken the initial lead in the contest, as Colton Rydlewski (Albion College / Schererville, Ind.) laced an RBI single to center field, yet, from that moment onwards, Crestwood allowed eight unanswered runs to Minutemen hitters. Two of them were unearned, as the team committed three errors in total, but others also stemmed from a lack of control on the mound, according to manager Isaac Valdez.
“You know, we did need to throw more strikes,” Valdez said. “That being said, the defense did not help out tremendously well either. We need to be able to catch and throw the ball, especially when we struggle at the plate like we did today.”
As a team, the Panthers hit just .218 (7-for-32), but still managed to mount a significant comeback in the game’s seventh frame. Both Rydlewski and Cameron Bufford (Grambling State University / South Holland, Ill.) earned RBIs via walks, and Reggie Brock (Chicago State / Chicago, Ill.) launched a clutch two-out, two-RBI double to bring Crestwood to within three. The Panthers, however, would go on to strand two more runners in scoring position to end the inning.
“It was great to see that fight out of us, especially late in the game,” Valdez said. “It just wasn’t good enough, though. Right now, we’re underachieving, we’re under .500, and we have talent, but that same talent doesn’t matter if you’re going to play selfishly.”
On the mound, starter Jacob Young (Fairmont State University / Lisle, Ill.) pitched five strong innings of two-run baseball, striking out six Minutemen hitters in the process. Also, in relief, Alex Simon (Augustana College / Hinsdale, Ill.) allowed one run in two innings of work. Valdez, though, was more concerned about his team’s hitting woes moving forward.
“We’re hitting about .225 as a team right now,” Valdez said. “So, that gives us no wiggle room to make mistakes; we’re not going to come back in any game because we don’t hit well enough. Things have to change here.”
The Panthers will look to return to their winning ways on Tuesday afternoon, as they take on the DuPage County Hounds from Andrean High School. Coverage begins at 5 p.m. on the Panthers’ Broadcast Network, available via Facebook Live.
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