With Tommy Mogavero and his Glenbard East baseball teammates playing their seventh game over four consecutive days Tuesday, focus was at a premium.
"You just take it one game at a time. You can't really think about what you're going to do after," Mogavero said. "You just have to make sure the energy you have, you use it for the game."
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When it mattered most against Addison Trail, Mogavero was prepared. His 2-run triple in the bottom of the fifth inning was the game-winning hit in the Rams' 8-4 victory at the Plunkett Sports Complex in Elmhurst.
Mogavero may have had an inside-the-park home run but was held up by coach Joel Pelland.
"I was just trying to go as fast as I could around those bases," Mogavero said. "It was a good feeling. I don't do that too often."
The two-out, two-strike triple brought home Scott Borosak and Joe Ritchie to complete a 5-run inning and erase a 4-1 deficit.
The Rams (3-3) added two more runs in the sixth and finished with 4 extra-base hits among their 8 total hits.
"It was nice to get that big inning. Really, the momentum shifts when that happens," Pelland said. "It's very easy when you're down three runs to kind of get down, but these guys came through. They had the right attitudes, brought the right effort and we came through."
Glenbard East played two opponents once Saturday and Sunday and a doubleheader Monday against Willowbrook with the second game for junior varsity. The Rams had lost three straight, including 5-2 Sunday morning at defending Class 4A champion Mt. Carmel after leading 2-0.
By contrast this was the Blazers' season opener, but they were on their way to playing Tuesday afternoon at West Chicago. Glenbard East reserved the artificial surface at Plunkett, and Addison Trail was given priority to fill the date since their March 21 meeting in Lombard had been canceled.
"We've been dying to get out here," first-year Addison Trail coach Mike Kennedy said. "They came up big and we didn't make the plays that we needed to at times, but I thought for our first game we played pretty well. We wish it would have come out different, but they had a couple of nice hits. Hats off to them."
Catcher Justin Griffin had another key hit for the Rams in the fifth with a two-out, two-strike double that cut the deficit to 4-3. Courtesy runner Bryce Roberts moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Borosak's infield single that trickled down the third-base line.
"I knew I had to push the run across," Borosak said. "I just missed (the pitch) and it barely hit the barrel."
John Allen (1-0), who relieved starter Michael Sebby to begin the fourth, was the winning pitcher and went 3-for-4 with 2 runs batted in. Tyler Behrendt tripled and scored twice, and Borosak was 2-for-4 with a double.
Borosak pitched the final two innings for his first save. He escaped the sixth with the bases loaded.
"I don't get innings that much," said Borosak, who started in right field. "I'm not the best pitcher out there, but whenever I get the chance I make sure to make the most of it."
Addison Trail starter Joe Kurucar allowed just 1 earned run and 4 hits in 4 innings with 5 strikeouts, 1 walk and 2 hit batters.
Kurucar also was 2-for-4 and scored after his leadoff triple in the first. Courtesy runner Eric Gilliam scored on Frank Amato's sacrifice fly in the third after a walk to catcher Eric Grogans, who added a 2-run single in the fifth. Zack Dowz was 2-for-4.
Kurucar was replaced on the mound by Christian Grabowski because the Blazers' West Suburban Conference Gold opener with Downers Grove South is Saturday.
"(Kurucar) came in knowing he was on a strict limit," Kennedy said. "We're not going to compromise conference especially. (And) we want to see some other guys."
The numerous games have been beneficial for the Rams. Borosak and Behrendt are the only returnees with significant varsity experience from last year's batting order.
"We've been pretty good. We have a lot of younger guys that don't have too much experience, but they've been holding their weight," Borosak said.