Downers Grove South's baseball team knows better than anyone that one good April weekend doesn't win a conference title.
Saturday, though, was a big step in that direction.
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The Mustangs scored a key doubleheader sweep of visiting Willowbrook with Saturday's 11-1 and 8-1 victories. They'll try for the West Suburban Gold sweep Monday in Villa Park.
"We did everything well today," said Mustangs coach Darren Orel. "We hit well, we pitched well, we played good defense and we ran the bases well. No matter what the scores say, I think that's one of the teams to beat in the conference. This is a huge day for us."
One big inning in each game powered the sweep for Downers South (7-3, 5-0), which smacked 28 hits. In Game 1, which went five innings, it was a 5-run third after trailing 1-0. In the second game the Mustangs broke a scoreless tie by scoring 4 runs in the bottom of the third.
With Downers South starting pitchers Danny Spinuzza and Chris Pedrak allowing a combined 3 hits in 11 innings, those bursts were plenty of offensive support. The Mustangs, however, kept tacking on runs in both games.
"We definitely wanted to make a statement here today," said Mustangs first baseman Matt Zinnecker, who went 5-for-7 with 4 RBI on the day. "They battle, they've got a lot of talent on that team. One inning isn't going to do anything, and we kept going. We kept the pressure on them."
Willowbrook (9-4, 5-2) struggled defensively while committing a total of 7 errors behind starters T.J. Case and Jake Cady. The offense also had a rare off day as Pedrak held the Warriors hitless through five innings.
Willowbrook took a 1-0 lead on an error in the top of the second in Game 1. A.J. Nolen broke up Pedrak's no-hitter with a leadoff single in the sixth inning of the second game and later scored on Tyler Vavrek's run-scoring groundout.
Joe Becht and Spinuzza had a pair of hits in both games for Downers South. Anthony Metz went 2-for-4 with 4 RBI in the opener. Danny Oriente drove in 3 runs in Game 2 while Ryan Taylor went 3-for-3.
"We had no way of stopping the bleeding today," said Willowbrook coach Vic Wisner. "We played on our heels, and they took it to us. But it's two losses in the middle of April. Now it's all about what we're going to do to get better and get ready for Monday. I have a lot of confidence that they'll respond well."
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