MINOOKA — It was a bright, sunny day in Minooka on Thursday. Still, with a crisp chill in the air due to temperatures in the low 50s, the Indians baseball team had to sweat one out against Oswego East.
Getting the game winning-hit from Joe Carnagio in the bottom of the eighth inning, the locals fought off a pesky Wolves team in recording a 7-6 Southwest Prairie Conference victory.
The Indians jumped right out on East with four runs on six hits in the first two innings. However, they then would go on to strand nine runners over the next six innings while letting the Wolves bite into the early lead.
Minooka got on the board in the first inning with two runs. Neal Tyrell doubled and Tyler Desmarais tripled to plate the first run and then max Brozovich doubled to plate Desmarais. In the second, Mark Fox started the inning with a single, Chris Costa sacrificed him to second and one out later, Tyrell walked to put runners on the corners. A double steal saw Fox steal home and put Tyrell at second were Desmarais singled him home.
The Indians added one more in the third when Brozovich singled, Steve Wittkamp singled, Brennan Polcyn walked to load the bases and one out later, Costa hit a sacrifice fly.
Still, despite the five runs, the lead by the locals was not safe as East cashed in on a couple of gift runs. In the first the Wolves scored on a walk, fielder’s choice, stolen base and an RBI groundout and in the third they added another on an error, stolen base, wild pitch and single.
“That’s kind of a bad habit that we’ve gotten into this year,” Minooka coach Jeff Petrovic said. “Giving away runs because of walks or errors or passed balls or a wild pitch. In those cases, we have to minimize the free bases. We got away some mistakes today.”
While East did get two doubles and an RBI single in the fifth inning, they tied the game in the sixth and once again in the seventh on give-aways. In the sixth, a single, a throwing error on a pickoff attempt, a sacrifice and a fielder’s choice grounder to first resulted in the run. In the seventh, an error with two outs, a stolen base and a single by Nick Mazzocchi sent the game into extra innings.
In the bottom of the sixth, Brozovich got an RBI single to plate Desmarais to make it a 6-5 score at the time. Desmarais reached after being hit by a pitched ball and went to second on a wild pitch.
Brozovich pointed out that the Indians left too many runners on base (11) in the game.
“We hit the ball, but we left a lot of runners on base,” he said. “It seems to be the story of our season. I think we have to do a better job of hitting with runners in scoring position.”
Petrovic said, despite leaving 11 runners on base, he thought his team executed when it needed to.
“We had some opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on … but I still feel good about it,” he said. “Our offense had been struggling and we have hit the ball very well over the last two days. Our situational hitting was good today and that’s a big part of the game — getting guys on and getting them in. We depend a lot upon situational hitting.”
With the game tied at 6-6 in the eighth inning, the Indians did come through with the game winner on a walk-off hit by Joe Carnagio. Tyrell got on via error and Desmarais singled before Carnagio’s walk-off gapper to right-center field.
“That was a big hit,” Brozovich said. “It doesn’t matter to me who does it, I was just really glad to get that run.”
Brozovich was 3-for-4 with three RBI in the game and Tyrell was 2-for-4 with three runs scored. Desmarais also was 3-for-4 with two RBI. Carnagio’s hit was his lone safety of the day, albeit a big one.
“Any time we have runners in scoring position, I like to see Joe Carnagio or Max Brozovich up there,” Petrovic said. “They are both clutch hitters.”
Trevor Maly was the winning pitcher. He went 3 1/3 innings while allowing four hits and striking out two. Dominick Matrisciano started and Matt Figora relieved in front of Maly.
“I think Trevor relishes those kind of situations,” Petrovic said about the junior not letting the unearned tying run in the seventh faze him. “I give him a lot a credit. He did a good job tonight.”
Minooka is now 11-7 overall and 7-3 in the SPC. The Indians are at Plainfield South on Friday.