Sure-handed shortstop Will Farmer was busy scooping baseballs following a game in which his potent bat sufficed for Mundelein.
Farmer was collecting precious balls by the Mustangs' batting cage, putting them in a large plastic bucket, and making sure he grabbed every last one.
And, no, he wasn't seeking out the ball he jacked over the left-field fence during Mundelein's 10-0 win over visiting Libertyville on Tuesday in a North Suburban Lake Division game that lasted only five innings.
"We don't get the luxury of keeping home-run balls around here," Farmer said with a grin. "If we lose balls, we got to run. As Coach (Todd) Parola puts it, those are $5 bills laying out there. Even in (batting practice), if we put one out, the guy who hits it has to go get it after his turn is over."
Not even Logan Reckert was leaving with a souvenir baseball.
Four batters after the Southern Illinois-bound Farmer belted his team-leading third homer of the season, hiking Mundelein's lead to 7-0 with none out in the second, Reckert also hit one out to left field. Winning pitcher Mitch Schulewitz (1-for-2, 2 RBI) was aboard for the junior catcher's first home run in high school, at any level.
"He really outdid me," Farmer said, smiling.
"I was ahead in the count, I saw the pitch coming in, and I connected well with it," Reckert said. "It just went."
Reckert's 3-for-3, 3-RBI day paced a 13-hit attack for Mundelein (18-1, 6-1), which scored 5 runs in each of the first two innings, giving Schulewitz way more runs than he needed. The Mustangs' ace allowed just 1 hit -- a two-out fourth-inning single to Kevin Calamari -- in his 5-inning complete game. He struck out five, didn't walk a batter and got 9 groundball outs.
"We played pretty well in all phases," Parola said. "Mitch does what he does. He throws strikes, and lets his 'D' work. Our 'D' has been good all year."
Libertyville 6-foot-5 lefty starter Mike Rogers walked four of the first five batters he faced, with Luke Adams and Schulewitz coaxing back-to-back walks with the bases loaded. Reckert's single made it 3-0. Libertyville (14-5-1, 3-2) was about to get out of the first when Rogers got Mike Metz to ground to short, but the ball was booted, scoring 2 more runs.
"It became a demoralizing inning," said Libertyville coach Jim Schurr, whose Wildcats were down two starters and two of their better hitters in sophomore shortstop Jimmy Govern (concussion) and designated hitter Alec Semersky (knee). The two players collided doing an outfield drill last week.
The wild bottom of the first included Libertyville throwing out two runners at the plate. Mundelein sent nine batters to the plate in the first and 10 in the second.
"We didn't come prepared," Schurr said. "Our infield was hellacious. Any time you're going to play a good team, and you're going to walk 3-4 guys and be up in the zone, you're going to get hit. You're going to get hurt."
Eight Mustangs had hits, with Farmer, Derek Parola and Metz each contributing a pair. Zach Osisek and Thomas Gandolfi doubled.
"(Libertyville) is a good team," Reckert said. "We were ready to play. Mitch was great. All of his pitches were looking good. He was hitting all of his spots, and our defense backed him up. And we hit."
The teams rematch today at Libertyville, and Mundelein won't be overconfident. The Mustangs beat the Wildcats by 10 runs at Libertyville last year, only to lose the rematch at Mundelein.
"This was one game," Todd Parola stressed. "We got to go play tomorrow."Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.