Baseball: Palatine hops past Wheeling in five innings
With Easter Sunday just a few days away, it was no wonder that Palatine turned to a Hopper.
Danny Hopper made his first start of the season Thursday for the Pirates. He threw four solid innings as Palatine bounced past Wheeling 12-0 in five innings in a windy Mid-Suburban League crossover in Palatine.
"I was just trying to throw strikes," Hopper said. "Just to get to get through the batters and get ready for the rest of the season. I think the wind helped the movement of the two-seamer and the cutter."
Hopper allowed just 2 hits. He struck out 4 and walked 1 while throwing just 45 pitches, 33 for strikes.
"Hopper threw beautifully," Palatine coach Paul Belo said. "He has pitched a little in relief this year. He was hitting his spots well. It was also nice to get him a lead out there."
Hopper was also one of the Pirates' hitting stars. He had a triple and a homer while scoring 2 runs.
"The wind was blowing out and it was ideal conditions to hit," Hopper said. "I was just trying to hit a line drive and I got under one and it went."
After having just 2 hits in a loss to Conant on Monday, Palatine (4-3-1, 1-1) banged out 13 hits on Thursday. Leadoff hitter Thomas Coroneos led the way with 3 singles and an RBI.
"We have been working inside in the batting cages working on our swings," Coroneos said. "I was just trying to sustain my at-bats. I was down in the count in all of them. I was just waiting for my pitch and get on base."
Palatine was the visiting team despite playing at its home field because Wheeling's field was unplayable.
Palatine jumped out to a 4-0 lead after two innings, thanks to a 2-run triple by Erik Fallin. The Pirates then broke the game open in the third, scoring 8 runs in the inning while sending 11 batters to the plate with Hopper tripling and homering.
"They were playing deep and their left-handed threw us off," Belo said. "We hit the ball off the end of the bat and they laid up in front on the outfielders because of the conditions. We were fortunate early and did some good things."
Aiden Wimer had 2 hits and 2 runs for Palatine. Charles Soukup had a double while Nate Branch scored twice. Joe Wagner pitched the final inning for Palatine, striking out two.
Wheeling (6-5, 0-3) managed just 4 hits. But the Wildcats got a big lift on the mound in the final two innings from Michael Del Genio, who fanned four.
"Michael has been a real leader for us this year," Wheeling coach Jason Wieder said. "He was a pleasant surprise on the mound. It is tough coming in in these conditions."