By: Jon Zaghloul
Crestwood, Ill. – July 28, 2020 – In what began as a toe-for-toe pitcher’s duel between Breven Daugherity (Chicago State / Joliet, Ill.) and Charlie Anderson (Florida Southern University / Chicago, Ill.), Tuesday night’s matchup between the Panthers (10-10) and DuPage County Hounds (14-6) saw fireworks fly in the sixth, as Crestwood struck for nine runs en route to a 15-4 victory.
Leading up to that faithful sixth inning, the Panthers had trailed the Hounds 4-3. Daugherity has pitched five strong innings of four-run baseball (three earned), while the team struck for a run in the first, via a Brett Riegler (University of Chicago / Downers Grove, Ill.) RBI single, another in the fourth, as Cameron Bufford (Grambling State University / South Holland, Ill.) smashed a solo home run, and one more in the fifth from a Jake Rybarski (Belmont Abbey College / Spring Grove, Ill.) sacrifice groundout.
Crestwood’s offense flipped the switch, however, in the sixth, striking for an impressive 10 runs on six hits. Six Panthers players recorded RBIs in the frame, including Kevin Coe (Eastern Kentucky / Chicago, Ill.), Donavan Noble (South Suburban College / Chicago, Ill.), Brett Riegler and Jake Rybarski. Additionally, Andrew Tenison (Moraine Valley CC / Orland Park, Ill.) posted five RBIs of his own in the same inning, crushing both a grand slam and double to lead the charge. According to manager Isaac Valdez, this historic offensive output is something that Crestwood has always been capable of doing.
“This is something that we’re capable of doing any day and every day,” Valdez said. “And we did this with some different bats in the lineup today. I know that we’re a very deep team and that’s why, sometimes, I get upset because I want them to play to their potential. When we do that, like we did today, I know that we’re one of the best teams in this league.”
In the seventh, the Panthers’ offense continued its barrage at the plate, as Ray Hilbrich (Purdue University-Northwest / Schererville, Ind.) laced a two-RBI double to left field, and Bufford drove in yet another run to officially end the game. That single would go on to give Bufford three hits on the day, which led the team.
Following Daugherity’s time on the mound, recent newcomer Gus Gamboa (Oakton CC / Lemont, Ill.) dealt two scoreless innings in relief to close the door on DuPage County. Valdez praised both pitchers for their ability to stay resilient, and thus, allowing Crestwood to stay in the game long enough to mount their comeback.
“Breven really battled today, and remember, he’s not used to being a starter right now,” Valdez said. “He settled down as the game moved on, spotted his fastball very well, and did a great job giving us five. Gus also did outstanding, and this was definitely his best outing of the season.”
As for the Panthers, it was the team’s newfound energy, even early on in the game, that paved the way for their electrifying victory on Tuesday. Valdez cited that reason, as well as Crestwood’s approach at the plate, as the primary contributors to the win.
“Part of it today was the energy; we were much more alive in the dugout today,” Valdez said. “But, the other half of it was our approach at the plate. We found ways to get runners over and get them in, and I could tell that the intention was there. This was, without a doubt, our best team approach at the plate.”
Crestwood looks to begin a new winning streak on Wednesday afternoon, as they oppose the Joliet Generals from Howie Minas Field. Coverage begins at 3 p.m. on the Panthers’ Broadcast Network, available via Facebook Live.
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