Pat Donohue changed Prospect's fortunes with just one swing of his bat Monday in Mt. Prospect.
Donohue, who bats first, lined the first pitch of Prospect's first inning at-bats into center for a single. That spark got the Knights, who had been struggling offensively in their last two games, off to a great start as Prospect rolled past Buffalo Grove 11-0 in 5 innings.
"It was pretty fun," Donohue said. "It was a fastball down the middle. I just wanted to set the tone so I just hit it hard."
With the bar set, Prospect (9-4-1, 2-1) kept raising it throughout the game. Each of the starters reached base at least once while seven different players combined for 11 hits. Donohue, Mike Piotrowski, Grant Miller, Jackson Wrede and Tyler Damasky each had 2 hits.
"This is the best we have hit all year," Prospect coach Ross Giusti said. "We have been struggling the past couple of games, especially with guys in scoring position.
"I think Donohue set the tone at the top of lineup. When you rip one to start the game, it really gets everyone going."
Things got going early for the Knights as they registered a 5-spot in the bottom of the first.
Donohue scored on a wild pitch on a strikeout. Lucas Karz followed with a RBI single scoring Grant Gerdes, who had walked. Miller had a RBI single and Wrede capped off the rally with a 2-run homer.
"I got a low, inside pitch," Wrede said. "It is a good place to get it. I swung and saw it high in the air."
Spotted with a 5-run lead, Mike Smith, who has been dominant this season, was able to relax on the mound. The senior, who improved to 4-0, scattered 3 hits while striking out two.
"It made it really easy for me after our first inning," Smith said. "Last summer, I was able to pitch on the Legion team and that helped me get ready for this year."
Prospect continued the barrage in its next 3 at-bats.
The Knights added 3 runs in the second thanks to an error by Buffalo Grove (2-9, 0-3). Prospect added another run in the third on fielder's choice by Donohue to score Jake Cavaiani, who had singled and went too third on Damansky's double.
Prospect closed out their scoring in the fourth on RBI singles by Miller and Wrede.
Buffalo Grove threatened for the only time in the fifth. With twoouts, Justin Hasek, who had 2 hits, singled. Mike Kleczynski followed with a bunt single and they both moved up a base on a error. But Smith got a ground out to Donohue at third to close out the game.
Giusti was impressed with the way Smith has pitched this year for the Knights.
"Smithy has been outstanding," Giusti said. "Talk about a kid who has come out of nowhere. He was a freshman B pitcher and middle relief his sophomore and junior years. He has just worked hard to put himself in this spot."
Buffalo Grove coach Jeff Grybash, meanwhile, is looking to get his team out of a dry spell.
"We have been struggling the last week and half," Grybash said. "We are not playing our best baseball. But we will keep on plugging along and fighting on. That is all we can do."
Fremd 3, Palatine 2 (8 inn.): Mack Rosman won a great duel with Palatine's Andrew Breytenbach as the host Vikings got the winning run across in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Rosman went the whole way for Fremd (8-5, 3-0), finishing with 11 strikeouts, 4 hits and 2 earned runs in his 8 innings as the Vikings stayed perfect in the MSL West.
Breytenbach allowed 6 hits in 7⅓ innings and struck out five.
Ian Bohn had a bloop single to lead off the Fremd eighth. Rosman sacrificed him to second, and with men on first and second with one out, Matt Gura provided the game-winning hit.
Brad Bauer had a double for Palatine (10-8), which scored once in the fourth and fifth innings.
Rolling Meadows 11, Hersey 4: Sean O'Brien doubled three times, and Erik Schutz went 3-for-5 with 3 RBI to help visiting Meadows to an MSL East victory.
Schurtz earned victory with a complete-game effort, striking out six and allowing 5 hits and 3 earned runs.
Alex Niecikowski and Bobby Suchecki each had a pair of hits for the Mustangs.
Andrew Segalla doubled and finished 2-for-3 at the plate for Hersey (4-8-1).
Barrington 3, Hoffman Estates 2: In a nice pitching matchup, Wyatt Trautwein and Barrington finished with a slight edge over Ryan Ward and host Hoffman Estates in MSL West play.
Trautwein and Ward both pitched complete games.
Shane Yorton and Jake Coon had RBI singles for Barrington (13-5, 2-1), while Ethan Bloom singled, doubled and scored for the Hawks.
Coon's single in Barrington 2-run fifth inning scored Mitch Pfeiffer with the game-winning run.
Elk Grove 10, Wheeling 4: The host Grenadiers got a complete-game effort from winning pitcher Adam O'Malley, who also had 3 hits to lead a 13-hit attack.
Josh Bergbreiter and Matt Wary had 2 hits each, and Elk Grove (9-4) stole 5 bases. The Grens did most of their damage with a 6-run fourth inning.
Jake Jordan led the effort for Wheeling by going 3-for-3 with a double, 2 runs scored and an RBI.
Schaumburg 3, Conant 0: The visiting Saxons put together a 3-run rally in the sixth inning, which was plenty for starter Brad Schwind as Schaumburg (8-1, 3-0) claimed an MSL West win.
Michael Fan had a pair of hits and drove in a run as Conant starter Mike Matej didn't allow Schaumburg much, as he gave up 4 singles with 3 strikeouts in 6 innings.
Schwind struck out six with 2 walks in a complete-game effort for the Saxons.