06/15/2018 1:15 AM -
Midlothian, Ill. – June 14, 2018 – The DuPage County Hounds rolled to a comfortable victory over the host Crestwood Panthers 13-2. The game marked the Hounds third consecutive win over the Panthers this season, scoring at least 10 runs in all three games including 13 apiece in the last two meetings.
Throughout the first three innings, it looked like the Panthers would give the Hounds a competitive game. Panthers starter Jake Miller (Concordia/Plainfield, Ill.) quieted the Hounds bats through the first three innings and kept them scoreless. He would depart after 4 1/3 innings pitched, yielding three earned runs on three hits while walking four and striking out three.
“Jake pitched outstanding,” Panthers manager Isaac Valdez said. “He shut down a very good team and gave us a chance to win the ballgame.”
Left-handed relief pitcher Kyle Ostrowski (John A. Logan College/Tinley Park, Ill.) would take over on the mound after Miller and was unable to follow up the starter’s success against the Hounds lineup. Ostrowski would only last 1 2/3 innings, surrendering six earned runs on five hits and three walks with three strikeouts.
Despite Ostrowski’s rough outing, Valdez is impressed by his pitcher and is happy with his progress this season. “This was his best outing by far,” Valdez said. “He was more consistent with his strikes. I was very tempted to keep him in for another inning, but I wanted him to end on a positive note. There’s a lot of room for improvement, but if you look at where he is now compared to the beginning of the season, it’s a complete 180.”
Peyton Bizarri (South Suburban/Taylor Ridge, Ill.) would make his Panther debut in the seventh inning and pitch a scoreless first frame which included two strikeouts, but he was unable to escape the eighth. He was tagged for three runs in that inning where he gave up four runs (three earned) on five hits. Justin Ruehl (Benedictine/Chicago, Ill.) and Cole Blatchford (Air Force Academy/Highlands Ranch, Colo.) would finish the day on the mound for the Panthers, combining for 1 1/3 scoreless innings to finish off the game.
Meanwhile, the Panthers bats struggled mightily to produce against a formidable Hounds pitching staff. Hounds starter James Rafauff set the tone by tossing six scoreless innings and scattering six hits and one walk over that span. Ultimately, the Panthers would end the game with 10 hits but only push across two runs in the last two innings.
Despite the Panthers struggles in today’s game, Pat McGowan (Kalamazoo Valley CC/Frankfort, Ill.) had a four-hit day and scored the team’s first run. Blatchford, Michael Ruffolo (Rockhurst/Norridge, Ill.), and Reggie Brock (Chicago State/Chicago, Ill.) would each contribute two hits of their own. Ruffolo’s two-out single scored McGowan with two outs in the eighth inning.
“We have hitters who can do a good job at the plate,” Valdez said. “It’s just a matter of stretching out the lineup and getting more guys to produce offensively.”
As the Hounds improved their record to a league best 11-1, the Panthers dropped to 1-10. They currently hold last place in the Midwest Collegiate League sitting four games behind the fifth place Northwest Indiana Oilmen. However, Valdez believes a winning streak is imminent.
“Some days we hit very well and some days we pitch very well,” Valdez said. “We just have to do the things we’ve done and proved we can do at the same time. If we can do that and play a complete game both offensively and defensively, we’ll be just fine.”
The Panthers have a day off tomorrow but will travel to Bloomington to take on the Bobcats for a Saturday doubleheader at O’Neil Ballpark starting at 1:00 p.m. You can catch both of those games on the Crestwood Panthers Broadcasting Network with Ryan Zimmerman delivering the play-by-play call throughout the day, available via Facebook Live on the Crestwood Panthers Facebook page.