Baseball: Willowbrook sitting pretty in Gold

  • Willowbrook center fielder Jonny Kelso dives to make a catch against Hinsdale South in Darien.

      Willowbrook center fielder Jonny Kelso dives to make a catch against Hinsdale South in Darien. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Willowbrook center fielder Jonny Kelso dives to make a catch against Hinsdale South in Darien.

      Willowbrook center fielder Jonny Kelso dives to make a catch against Hinsdale South in Darien. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Willowbrook pitcher Jack Nilles deals a pitch against Hinsdale South in Darien.

      Willowbrook pitcher Jack Nilles deals a pitch against Hinsdale South in Darien. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Hinsdale South pitcher Jaxon Herchenbach delivers a pitch against Willowbrook during baseball action in Darien.

      Hinsdale South pitcher Jaxon Herchenbach delivers a pitch against Willowbrook during baseball action in Darien. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Hinsdale South's Michael Stoltz tags out Willowbrook's JT Ceh at second base during baseball action in Darien.

      Hinsdale South's Michael Stoltz tags out Willowbrook's JT Ceh at second base during baseball action in Darien. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Hinsdale South shortstop Michael Stoltz tags out Willowbrook's Jonny Kelso at second base during baseball action in Darien.

      Hinsdale South shortstop Michael Stoltz tags out Willowbrook's Jonny Kelso at second base during baseball action in Darien. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Willowbrook's Jonny Kelso, right, can't believe he is called out at second base after being tagged by Hinsdale South shortstop Michael Stoltz, left, during baseball action in Darien.

      Willowbrook's Jonny Kelso, right, can't believe he is called out at second base after being tagged by Hinsdale South shortstop Michael Stoltz, left, during baseball action in Darien. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Daniel White/dwhite@dailyherald.comWillowbrook's Jonny Kelso crosses the plate as the Warriors score five runs in the fifth inning against Hinsdale South in Darien.

    Daniel White/dwhite@dailyherald.comWillowbrook's Jonny Kelso crosses the plate as the Warriors score five runs in the fifth inning against Hinsdale South in Darien.

  • Hinsdale South's Michael Stolt, right, makes a catch in front of Kevin Massa, left, against Willowbrook during baseball action in Darien.

      Hinsdale South's Michael Stolt, right, makes a catch in front of Kevin Massa, left, against Willowbrook during baseball action in Darien. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 4/27/2017 10:52 PM

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.

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"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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