JOLIET — It’s already been a bizarre start to the spring sports season around the area. With snow and freezing temperatures still occurring late into March, no outdoor sports have really been able to get outside and do anything.
So of course when the Minooka Indians baseball team was finally able to get out and play a game Saturday against Providence Catholic, something would happen to even delay the season even more.
With the Indians up 2-0 n the top half of the second inning, a pitch from Celtics senior Yianni Pavlopoulos bounced up and injured umpire Dan Marshall, causing him to leave the field for 25 minutes while he picked up new gear. After the delay, it was all Providence, as a five-run second inning propelled them to a 6-3 victory over the Indians.
Surely a strange way to start of the season for both squads.
“It was a very strange situation, and you always worry about your pitchers during that stuff,” Minooka head coach Jeff Petrovic said. “It was even more strange because we started the game late because the umps were late, then that delay happened. You can’t fault anyone for that, though.”
“They’re good umpires, so I just told my kids to take a break,” Providence head coach Mark Smith added. “In baseball, once you think you’ve seen everything, you see something new. We were glad the umpire was okay.”
Just like Petrovic alluded to, the pitching was off for Minooka following the delay. After a strong first inning, junior Mitch Vogrin struggled mightily for the Indians, giving up four walks in the second inning. After his third walk of the inning loaded the bases, first baseman Shawn Cavallone stepped up for the Celtics, knocking a base hit to right field, bringing home two runs to give providence a 3-2 advantage.
It was a lead they would never lose.
“It felt great. In my first game on the varsity team, I couldn’t have asked for a better first hit,” Cavallone said. “It was a pretty big situation in the game, too.”
After a wild pitch from Vogrin brought in another run to make it 4-2, another wild throw from the junior brought home Cavallone, capping off the crazy five run inning that saw Providence only manage two hits, with Vogrin throwing 40 pitches in the frame.
“We just had one bad inning there.” Petrovic said. “I think once you get to this level, walks and errors are the worst things that can happen to you, and we let those beat us today.”
After the big inning from the Celtics, the Indians couldn’t muster anything offensively, as senior Jake Godfrey shut down the Minooka lineup for Providence. After relieving Pavlopoulos after two innings, Godfrey pitched four and two-thirds innings of one-run baseball, which occurred in the top of the seventh. Fellow senior Kyle Crawford came in to get the final out of the 6-3 decision in favor of the Celtics.
“Overall, Jake did a nice job and pounded the zone like we needed him to,” Smith said. “He got tired near the end when he hit his 60 pitch limit, so then we brought in Crawford.”
The loss is tough for Minooka to take, but just being able to go out and play a baseball game was a big positive for everyone.
“It felt good to get out and play, but we looked like a team that hasn’t been on the field yet this year,” Petrovic said. “I told the kids at the end here that obviously this doesn’t feel very good, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that we won’t feel like that a ton this year. I feel that we’re still a very good baseball team.”