Crestwood Panthers Fall to Joliet Generals

06/01/2018 11:30 PM -

Joliet, Ill. – June 1, 2018 – The combination of a potent Joliet Generals offense and a standout performance on the mound by Ryan Czajkowski (Argo HS/Summit, Ill.) proved too much to overcome for the Crestwood Panthers as they were defeated 13-6.  

Czajkowski (1-0) was able to keep the Panthers hitters off balanced all game as they were unable to crack the crafty right-hander throughout his six innings of work.  He struck out six while allowing just three hits and two walks and allowing only one unearned run.  Reliever Brock Budzielek (Calumet College/Hobart, Ind.) finished the job out of the bullpen, pitching the last three innings to close out the ballgame.  

“I tip my hat to the starting pitcher,” Panthers manager Isaac Valdez said of Czajkowski.  “He just flat out beat us.  He made quality pitches with runners on base and did everything he needed to do to strand our runners and keep us from scoring runs.”  

On the other side of the baseball, the Generals bats came alive in the third inning after Panthers starter Dan Cryan (South Suburban/Orland Park, Ill.), who was added to the roster the day of the game, dominated in his first two innings, at one point putting together a five-hitter strikeout streak.  The Generals would get to Cryan in the third inning, touching him up for three walks and three singles before striking out Braden Menini (Calvin College/St. Charles, Ill.) and exiting the game after just 2.1 innings pitched.  The Generals would go on to score six runs in the inning.  

The Generals would go on to score three more runs in the fourth and fifth innings before the Panthers put one across the plate in the sixth inning when a Will Thomas (Alcorn State/South Holland, Ill.) single scored John Plattner (Lincoln Land CC/Chatham, Ill.) who had reached on an error and advanced to second on a balk.  

The Panthers would double their run total in the eighth inning following an error by Menini on a Blake Soria (South Mountain CC/Chicago, Ill.) scored Thomas.  Not to be outdone, the Generals responded by plating four in their half of the inning off Panthers reliever Jackson Shepherd (Mesa CC/Channahon, Ill.).  

Despite trailing 13-2 heading into the ninth inning, the Panthers never quit and fight hard, sending four runners across home plate with two outs to end the game with a more respectable 13-6 score line.  

“I’m very proud of my guys’ mental toughness to stay focused,” Valdez said.  “I challenged them midway through the game to forget about the result, not give away at-bats, keep focusing, and not give anything away.  I believe they did a great job of that.”  

The Panthers will be back in action is tomorrow at 2 p.m. CT against the DuPage County Hounds at the Lemont Sports Complex in Lemont, Ill.  For Valdez, this game is very important as the Panthers continue their search for their elusive first win of the MCL season. 

“I’m confident in our ability to win tomorrow as long as our pitchers can throw strikes and our hitters swing the bats well.  Kyle Ostrowski (John A. Logan College/Tinley Park, Ill.) will be on the mound and he’s due for a good start.  The rust is starting to shake off and we’re ready to stop just competing and start winning.”  

You can catch tomorrow’s game on the Panthers Broadcasting Network with Ryan Zimmerman delivering the play-by-play call, available via Facebook Live on the Crestwood Panthers Facebook page.