Baseball: Willowbrook sitting pretty in Gold
Young as it may be, Willowbrook's baseball team has been in win-now mode all season.
The Warriors took another step toward winning the West Suburban Gold title with Thursday's 6-2 win over Hinsdale South in Darien.
By taking two of three games in the key series, the Warriors (15-3, 7-1) solidified their hold on first place while knocking a top challenger further off the pace.
M.J. Ranieri broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning with a 2-run single, sparking a decisive 5-run outburst.
"We had better at-bats that inning and took a better approach at the plate," said Ranieri, who got on base three times. "It was tough losing to them on Monday, but we buckled down and got a win Tuesday and came back today with a big win."
Starting pitcher Jack Nilles -- one of four sophomores in Thursday's lineup and one of five on the team -- worked out of some jams in earning the win. He pitched 6 innings, scattering 7 hits and allowing 1 run.
Hinsdale South (12-7, 6-6) loaded the bases in three different innings but managed only 1 run on John Colucci's second-inning double play. The Hornets stranded nine runners overall, scoring their other run on starting pitcher Jaxon Herchenbach's seventh-inning RBI single off reliever Scott Kohrt.
"We had a lot of opportunities and couldn't get it done," said Hornets coach Paul Hoel, whose team committed 5 errors. "They beat us and deserved to win the series."
Willowbrook sophomore Marshall McDonnell tied the game in the third inning with a run-scoring single. Kyle Ferguson singled home a run in the fifth and sophomore Trevor Jaloszynski added a 2-run single.
After being retired in order by Herchenbach in the first two innings, the Warriors put 19 runners on base the rest of the game.
"We grind out at-bats and we're a good two-strike hitting team," said Warriors coach Vic Wisner. "We just try to keep pressure on teams."
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