07/29/2021 1:20 PM -
Crestwood, Ill. – July 29, 2021 – Michael Laudondo (Rockhurst University / Westchester, Ill.) was unstoppable on Wednesday night.
In his start on the mound for the Crestwood Panthers (18-16), Laudondo completely shut down a fiery Northwest Indiana Oilmen (20-8) offense, dealing six shutout innings and adding 10 strikeouts. His performance set the tone for the rest of the contest, as Crestwood came through offensively en route to a dominant 5-1 win.
The Panthers began their attack two batters into the game, as Ronald Applewhite (Culver-Stockton College / Chicago, Ill.) launched a two-run home run to deep left-center field, plating Donavan Noble (South Suburban College / Chicago, Ill.) who had just reached via a double. Then, in the third, Sean Lynch (Eastern Illinois / Indian Creek, Ill.) posted an RBI single, one of four hits for him on the night.
The rest of the game saw an excellent relief outing from Peyton Olejnik (Triton College / Cedar Lake, Ind.), who lasted 2 2/3, allowing just one run. Then, Andrew Tenison (Benedictine University / Orland Park, Ill.) closed out the game, navigating out of a bases-loaded situation in the bottom half of the ninth.
“This was really our best all-around performance of the season,” manager Isaac Valdez said. “Laudondo got us going and threw strikes consistently. He did a phenomenal job, and he was in a groove throughout the night.”
Valdez was also quite pleased with his team’s offensive output, and credited his players for consistently “barreling up the baseball.”
“We had a gameplan from the very beginning on offense,” Valdez said. “I told the guys to be prepared, and to their credit, they took advantage. We hit the ball hard all game, and that helped us in taking control early.”
With the win, the Panthers are now just two games behind the Joliet Generals for second place in the MCL standings. Fortunately, however, they have a 2 1/2 game lead over the Southland Vikings, who sit in fourth place. If the Panthers are able to hold on, it would mark their first MCL playoff appearance in franchise history.
“We just have to keep playing like we are right now,” Valdez said. “We’re clicking as a team, and making up ground in the standings. We’re playing very well, all-around, and it’s all happening at the right time.”
The Panthers will be back in action on Thursday evening, as they oppose the Southland Vikings from Dowling Park. Coverage begins at 5 P.M. on the Vikings’ Broadcast Network, available via Facebook Live.