Big first leads Redskins past Minooka

MINOOKA - Jeff Petrovic said that the top of the first inning at his Indians' season-opener against Morris was worse than a nightmarish start.

He was right.

Before Minooka even got a chance to bat, the Indians were down 10 runs. Not only that, but the Redskins had already chased Minooka ace left-hander Josh Jimenez from the ballgame.

The first six Morris batters reached during the first frame, which was just too much for the Indians to overcome, as Morris got back to .500 with a 14-9 win.

"I was telling the other coaches that if you could have imagined a nightmare start, it wouldn't have even been that bad," Petrovic said of the top of the first. "You really don't anticipate that out of Josh. It wasn't the type of game we expected at all."

The Redskins (2-2) had seven hits in the top of the first. Morris also took advantage of an error by Minooka (0-1) second baseman Nick Fleischauer and a walk, while both Preston Miracle and Jason Matteson got hit by a pitch.

"That was huge," said Miracle, who was 3-for-3 with two runs scored, of Morris' top of the first. "Getting up on a team, like Plainfield (North) did to us (on Friday) when they had that big inning, it dampens the whole team's morale."

After Ruettiger's second at-bat of the game in the first, an RBI single, Jimenez was removed in favor of Josh Mitchell, who went on to give up just one run in 3 2/3 innings of work.

While Mitchell was keeping the Indians in the game, Minooka was staging an inning-by-inning comeback. It started with a run in the first on a Fleischauer RBI single that scored Tyler Thorson. In the second, a two-run homer by Carson Neushwander and a solo shot by Max Brozovich got the Indians to within six runs of the Redskins.

After a three-run third and two-run fourth, Minooka was right back in the contest. Morris pulled away after getting four runs in the bottom of the sixth off Steve Szymanski and Neushwander, yet the Indians never went away.

As the innings came and went, there was always the feeling that the Indians were right on Morris' doorstep.

"Obviously it  wasn't the start we liked," Neushawnder said. "We kind of picked up the defense thing, we just started putting together a few runs each inning. It's tough. We came back all the way to [a one-run deficit]. We had one tough inning."

Even though it looked like the Indians might erase that big deficit, Morris wasn't thinking that way.

"I have faith in all of our boys," Miracle said. "I just think that the whole time we were up and had confidence that we could pull this game out."

Brian Henry earned the win for the Redskins, throwing the first 3 2/3 innings, before Miracle finished off the game, throwing 3 1/3 scoreless innings. Miracle gave up two hits and struck out three.

"Preston, he's our main starter, but he's the kind of kid who can come in and do what he did today, which is shut a team down,"Morris coach Todd Kein said. "I think Preston settled in and was able to hit his spots and do his job."