Baseball: Prairie Ridge run-rules Crystal Lake South
When something favorable happens for Prairie Ridge, there's a good chance Alex Milone is in the middle of it.
Which is one reason why Wolves coach Glen Pecoraro calls his senior shortstop, the one player on the team with previous varsity experience, "my go-to guy."
Milone was doing what he does best on Friday against Crystal Lake South. He was 3 for 3 with two RBIs and scored four times as the Wolves beat the Gators, 12-2, in five innings in their Fox Valley Conference game at Prairie Ridge.
"Yesterday (in an 8-2 win over South) I had a bad approach and wasn't seeing the ball deep," Milone said. "I was just trying to see the ball deep and drive it the other way. Just do my part and get on base, let my guys in the middle of the lineup drive me in."
Prairie Ridge (6-7, 4-4) scored multiple runs in every inning but the second. Milone singled and stole second in the first and third before scoring. He was hit by a pitch and scored in the fourth, then drove in two runs with a single in the fifth. Matt Porter's ground ball brought Milone in with the run that ended the game via the 10-run rule.
"Whenever I need anything I go to Alex," Pecoraro said. "He's spent more time with me than any of these guys. You have those guys you develop a relationship with over time. He's going to know what I'm talking about and understand the situation."
Milone, who it hitting .395 and has a .478 slugging percentage, was the only sophomore two years ago to see much varsity time. Since the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the 2020 season, Milone's teammates know they can lean on him.
"(Milone) brings positive energy and teaching moments," Porter said. "Every time somebody messes up or is down on themselves, Alex is right there telling them what to do differently. Then, they figure it out and it goes right for us."
Porter doubled home Milone in the first and Dylan Bremer's ground ball scored the Wolves' next run.
South (6-10, 1-7) scored in the second on Nate Freeze's single and a double by Mark DeCicco. Wolves starter Nathan Koteras allowed only two more hits after that inning.
"It's been a tough couple of weeks," Gators coach Brian Bogda said. "We're young and we're trying to figure things out. Trying to get ourselves playing better baseball by the end of the year is our goal right now.
"Our (hitting) approach in the first and second was good. We had some tough luck in the first with line drives right at them, what are you going to do? Good approaches early on and those approaches kind of fell apart later."
Pecoraro, often a tough coach to satisfy, was not left with much to critique about the Wolves' play. He held up a note card he keeps during games of things he addresses in the postgame talk.
"Every game, I usually fill up both sides," said Pecoraro, showing only four things written on one side of the card. "That tells us we're playing a little better."