Baseball: Branecki closes door in Glenbard East's win over Glenbard South
Glenbard East baseball coach Joel Pelland did his Upstate Eight rival few favors with his lone pitching change Friday afternoon in Glen Ellyn.
Glenbard South had to dramatically alter its approach when Pelland removed his right-handed starter, Trevor Rehnstrom, in favor of Braden Branecki in the bottom of the fifth.
Branecki, a southpaw, subsequently retired eight of the nine batters he faced to secure the Rams' 8-5 victory.
"Braden gave us everything he had and did a fantastic job of finishing the game for us," Pelland.
"My fastball was really working," Branecki said. "No one was really hitting it. I mixed in a few curveballs. I feel like it's a different viewpoint for them to have to adjust to (as a left-hander). It was good for my benefit."
Joe Wolsztyniak, Ben Elias and Joe Hamilton -- the Rams' first three batters in the lineup -- all reached and scored in the top of the first.
Glenbard East would maintain at least a 3-run lead for the remainder of the game.
In the Rams' first three at-bats, Andrew Iverson, Hamilton and Rehnstrom -- aiding his own cause in the process -- had two-out, run-scoring base hits.
"It comes down to timely hitting," said Hamilton, who nearly had a home run with double high off the left-field fence in the second inning.
"We kept the momentum," Pelland said. "When we come out with two-out runs it just makes it that much easier. I am proud of the way we pitched. I am proud of the way we ran the bases."
Glenbard South coach Marco Eufrasio would ultimately use four different pitchers in his attempts to counter the Rams' balance. But the Raiders' pitchers were undone by 4 errors that proved too much to overcome.
"To their credit, they put the bat on the ball," Eufrasio said of Glenbard East. "We have to know where we're going defensively, and not give extra bases and things like that."
The Raiders would score twice in its third inning as Avery Webster had the only hit of the inning with a leadoff double. But Jason Cousinue got the run right back for the Rams in the top of fourth with an RBI single.
Another Glenbard South throwing error would figure prominently as well in the Rams' 2-run fifth.
Branecki did the rest as quickly ended the Raiders' thoughts of the big fifth inning with a pair of quick outs.
Branecki retired the side in order -- the first for either team -- in the sixth; Will Kallvelege had a harmless single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to spoil Branecki's bid for a perfect outing.