Going into Saturday morning's first game of a doubleheader with West Suburban Gold foe Downers Grove South, host Addison Trail was facing a starting pitcher who had given up just two walks this season.
Addison Trail (13-7, 7-1) needed to be on its game going up against Downers Grove South junior Brian Glowicki, and that's exactly what happened.
The Blazers converted on their scoring chances in the first inning, played solid defense and got a strong outing from starter Mike Imperiale, resulting in a 3-1 victory.
After the first inning Glowicki was untouched for his remaining four innings, allowing just two baserunners and sending Addison Trail down in order during two innings. He allowed four hits and struck out eight.
The Blazers' big first inning started with one out when Anthony Catanese reached on an infield hit after the hard-hit ball deflected off Glowicki's glove. Then Glowicki gave up a rare walk to Imperiale. That set the stage for Greg Schultz, who connected on a triple to center that brought home Catanese and Imperiale.
"I saw that (Glowicki) was working outside. I scooted closer onto the plate, got ahead of the count and found the gap," Schultz said. "I had struggled early in the season with hitting, but now all our bats are coming around."
The third and final run for Addison Trail came when the throw after Anthony Kalbas' bunt was sent to first, allowing Schultz to score.
"The three runs were a big boost. Mike (Imperiale) kept us in there. He tired at the end, but Greg got the big hit and closed the game down," said Blazers coach Steve Gilliam.
Imperiale went 62⁄3 innings, allowing just four hits and striking out six. He pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the first, allowing two hits and didn't allow another hit until the sixth.
Schultz came on in relief in the seventh to get the last batter out.
The Blazers' defense was also in strong form with first baseman Kalbas, second baseman Schultz and third baseman Jordan Garcia all catching line drives during the second inning. The following inning, center fielder Scott Babica made a nice diving catch of a flyball and Catanese snagged a line drive.
"That's baseball. They were hit right at them. We made no errors and that's important," Gilliam said.
The Mustangs' lone run came in the seventh. Zach Burdi singled to left and later scored on a wild pitch.
The series concludes Tuesday at Downers Grove South, and Mustangs coach Darren Orel said good pitching won't carry the Mustangs (12-9, 6-5). They must get consistent on offense if they want to reach their full potential.
"Bottom line, we didn't execute today. We didn't get the hits when we needed them. We've been inconsistent and not getting the quality at-bats we need," he said.
The Blazers won the second game of the doubleheader 8-4 behind winning pitcher Greg Schultz, who struck out eight and allowed just one earned run. Imperiale went 1-for-3 with a double and 3 RBI in the nightcap.