Mundelein's baseball team needs Chris Maranto in future weeks.
Butler University needs the slick shortstop in future years.
And so Maranto sat at the end of Mundelein's dugout Saturday at Crystal Lake Central. The senior finally yielded to a strained right quadriceps.
With their guy they count on out, the Mustangs counted their first loss.
"The doctor wants me to stay out at least two weeks, just to rest (the quad), because I tried playing on it and then it just got worse," Maranto said following Mundelein's 7-5 defeat that dropped the Mustangs to 5-1.
"Our game at Wauconda (on Wednesday), he added, "I couldn't even run."
Maranto, who homered in the Mustangs' season-opening win against Hoffman Estates, is their most experienced varsity player. He plans to sign in early April with Butler, where he will be a teammate and roommate of Vernon Hills catcher Chris Marras. Maranto said he tweaked his quad while running in practice recently.
"I can pretty much do everything except sprint," Maranto said. "I can hit. I can field. It's just once I start sprinting, it's pain."
Saturday was the first game Maranto has missed.
He watched helplessly as the Mustangs committed 4 costly errors. A one-out infield miscue in the fourth opened the door for Crystal Lake Central (2-3), which went on to score 4 unearned runs off Mundelein starting pitcher Matt Langlie. The rally came after the visitors had scored three times in the top of the inning to take a 4-2 lead.
"It was hard after seeing our team being undefeated before (Saturday)," Maranto said. "Just not being able to play is hard enough, but then watching a loss is even harder."
Credit Tigers starter Jake VanScoyoc. In his first start of the season, the right-hander went the distance on the mound. He scattered 6 hits, none for extra bases, on an overcast and damp afternoon.
"My team made all the plays," said VanScoyoc, who overcame 3 errors. "I was just trying to battle. I got down in some of the counts, but I came back, and my catcher (Colin Telemanik) did a great job blocking pitches and calling the game."
Crystal Lake Central's 4-run fourth included an infield RBI single by VanScoyoc (2-for-4), a fielder's choice RBI by Dan Leverenz and a sacrifice fly by Parker Harold. Mundelein committed 2 errors in the frame.
The top of the inning had included Jordan Wiegold's two-out, 2-run single that put Mundelein ahead 4-2.
"At that point, I was kind of scared," VanScoyoc said. "My teammates picked me up."
Thomas Gandolfi (2-for-3) trimmed the Mustangs' deficit to 6-5 with a two-out, RBI single in the fifth, but the Tigers got the run back in the sixth. It, too, was unearned.
"We took a step backward today, that's for sure," Mustangs coach Todd Parola said. "But we got to learn from it and move forward."
Torr Randau (2-for-3) gave Mundelein hope in the seventh when he got hit by a pitch with two out. But Tigers third baseman Andy Gertonson snagged a line drive by Ryan Dolan (1-for-4, RBI single) to end it.
"We had some chances and some guys couldn't come up with the big hit," Parola said. "We never really strung anything together. For whatever reason, (VanScoyoc) seemed to handcuff us a little bit. We just didn't put really any good swings on it for the most part."