Facing Mike Rothmund with the bases empty is scary enough for pitchers.
Pitching against him with runners on base? You might want to hide under the covers.
Willowbrook's big senior first baseman continued his torrid start to the season by homering and driving in 4 runs in Saturday's 12-3 West Suburban Gold victory over Addison Trail in Villa Park.
Hoping Rothmund's bat -- and the rest of the lineup's -- stays hot, Willowbrook (7-2, 5-0) will go for the conference sweep Monday at Addison Trail (1-8, 0-5).
"We're just playing as a team," said Rothmund, who next year will play at the University of Illinois-Springfield. "We're doing everything we need to do. I'm feeling really good, the ball's looking pretty big to me. I'm hitting beach balls up there."
Addison Trail was within 4-3 heading to the bottom of the fifth when Willowbrook exploded for 8 runs. The outburst started with Rothmund's 2-run homer, his fourth of the season, and ended with his 2-run bloop single that boosted his RBI total to 22.
The Warriors scored in numerous ways in the fifth, including on a wild pitch and bases-loaded walk. The Blazers also committed 2 of their 5 errors on the day.
"We can't afford to give good teams extra outs, that's the bottom line," said Addison Trail coach Mike Kennedy. "They're going to make you pay for it. Downers (Grove South) and York did the same thing against us. We need to eliminate that one inning where we seem to lose focus."
The game started strong for Addison Trail, which scored twice in the first inning off Willowbrook starter Jake Cady. Zack Dowz, who went 2-for-4, tripled home a run and Eric Grogans drove him in with an infield single.
Willowbrook took a 3-2 lead in the second inning on RBI singles by Brian Johnson and Tucker Newling in addition to a run-scoring groundout by A.J. Nolen. The teams exchanged a run off errors to put Willowbrook's lead at 4-3 heading to the big bottom of the fifth.
Frank Amato, who took the loss for Addison Trail, had 2 hits. Cady, who scattered 6 hits in 6 innings before being relieved by Matt Gasiamis for a scoreless seventh, joined teammates Luke Schuemer and Newling in having 2 hits for the Warriors.
"Our kids don't get nervous at all about close games," said Willowbrook coach Vic Wisner. "They know we're going to swing. I think our kids feel real comfortable doing the things they need to do."
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