Different baseball teams play to different strengths.
When a strength becomes a weakness, Monday’s game happens to teams like Willowbrook.
Foiled by 10 errors, the Warriors fell to Hinsdale South 10-1 in the third and final game of their West Suburban Gold series in Villa Park.
The defending Gold champion Hornets (5-1, 3-0) earned the sweep against a Willowbrook (1-4, 0-3) team that came into Monday’s game without an error in its four previous games.
“When you don’t make the regular plays, and we’re not talking the special plays, you lose the pitcher’s best friend,” said Willowbrook coach Vic Wisner. “I know it’s really early, and conference snuck up on us quick. But we’re at that waterfall phase where something bad happens and we’re waiting for the next bad thing. We make one error and it turns into four errors.”
The first 7 runs Hinsdale South scored were unearned, including all 6 runs surrendered by Willowbrook starter Kevin Johnson in 4 innings. The Hornets scored those 6 runs on only 2 hits, and one of them came in the scoreless top of the first inning.
“That’s sort of how we have to play, that’s how this team is,” said Hinsdale South coach Paul Hoel. “We can run, we can bunt. We’ve got to put pressure on people. We’re not going to put the ball out of the yard very often, but I sort of like the way we play.”
It wasn’t just the errors that hampered the Warriors. Missed signs, missed cut-off men, missed coverage of bases. A little bit of everything contributed to the game slipping away from Willowbrook.
Johnson kept the score within 2-0 heading to the fourth inning before Hinsdale South struck for 4 runs on 1 hit, which was an RBI double by George Cote.
Another unearned run made it 7-0 in the sixth inning. Willowbrook finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth when pinch-hitter R.L. Aldridge tripled and scored on Brian Johnson’s single.
Those back-to-back at-bats accounted for 2 of Willowbrook’s 5 hits against Hinsdale South starter Mike Marrera, who used a 4-pitch bottom of the seventh to record the complete-game victory.
D.J. Deolitsis and Michael Rizzo each had 2 hits and an RBI for the Hornets, who added 3 runs in the top of the seventh.
“This is huge for us to remain focused for all three games like this,” Marrera said. “After this past week I’m amazed with what we’ve done. We’ve had some huge shoes to fill and so far our team’s done a really great job.”
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