08/10/2021 7:01 PM -
Crestwood, Ill. – August 10, 2021 – History was made for the Crestwood Panthers on Tuesday night.
For the first time in franchise history, the Panthers had earned an MCL playoff spot, garnering the league’s three-seed with a 23-20 record. And, in their first game against the two-seeded Joliet Generals, Crestwood came away with a 6-3 victory.
The Panthers’ offensive attack began in the second inning. Trailing 1-0, outfielder Gabe Halaby (University of Chicago / Monument, Colo.) launched a two-RBI double to deep center field, plating both Hayden Matulich (Purdue University Northwest / San Jose, Calif.) and Gannon Andrews (Purdue University Northwest / Portage, Mich.). Matulich would later add an RBI single in the third, making it a 3-1 game.
By the fourth, with Crestwood’s lead cut to just one run, catcher Tyler Struck (Murray State College / Orland Park, Ill.) took matters into his own hands, crushing a clutch two-run home run to left field. The homer gave the Panthers some much-needed breathing room, and helped keep the Generals at bay throughout the remainder of the contest.
On the mound, Michael Laudondo (Rockhurst University / Westchester, Ill.) continued his dominant stretch on the mound, dealing six innings of three-run (two earned) baseball. He recorded two strikeouts and two walks, and threw 71 percent of his pitches for a strike. In relief, KJ Evans (Rockford University / Crete, Ill.) pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings, before Nathan Boyer (Purdue University Northwest / Oak Park, Ill.) notched the game’s final out.
With Tuesday’s win, the Panthers sit just one more win away from earning an MCL Championship berth. Game Two of this pivotal MCL Semifinals Series begins Wednesday at 4:10 p.m. Fans can purchase tickets at Oil City Stadium, or watch the game on Facebook Live.