Baseball: Wrona's hot hitting helps Metea Valley take series from DeKalb
With a three-run seventh, the Metea Valley baseball team put the final nail into DeKalb's coffin in a 10-4 win on Thursday, taking two of three games from the Barbs to open DuPage Valley Conference play.
"It felt good," said Jeremy Wrona, who drove in a run and scored in the seventh as part of a three-hit, three-RBI, two-run day. "It felt like we had the game secure at the end. We were ready to play defense and get the game over."
The bats for DeKalb (9-4-1, 1-2 DVC) finally got going in the sixth, putting three on the board. Two Metea Valley errors played a part, but Paul Kakoliris, Nik Nelson and Jackson Kees drove in runs to cut the Mustang lead to 7-4 heading into the seventh.
But after reliever Carson Smith got the first two outs, the Mustangs (5-6, 2-1) pushed three across, two of which were unearned.
Metea Valley coach Steve Colombe said after giving up three unearned in the sixth, Liam Wagner pitched a solid seventh, giving up a double to Maddux Clarence but forcing the Barbs to strand him at third.
"It took a little pressure off," Colombe said. "Liam, one of our relief pitchers, we're only in Game 11 so he's only made two or three outings. It's good to take a little pressure off our defense after the rough inning we had defensively."
DeKalb coach Josh Latimer said things went wrong even before the three errors in the first. Jackson Kees, who has been dominating on the mound this year, tweaked his elbow Tuesday and was unable to start on the mound.
He said Brodie Farrell was phenomenal in his spot start, allowing three earned runs and two hits in three innings, but the defense let him down from the very start.
"I think everybody knew when we didn't have Jackson throwing today, that's always a heartbreaker," Latimer said. "The way he threw against Kaneland‚ he's just a dog. When you don't have him going, there's always that little, 'Oh, man. I wish we had him.' But Brodie really stepped up and we thought all the kids were behind him, but all of a sudden two or three errors in the first inning and the kids get down. They need to be better than that. We need to learn to bounce back from that because we only have up one in the first after all that. And we didn't come back today like we wanted to."
The Mustangs led 5-1 after five but pushed two home in the top of the sixth of Smith, who retired six of the first eight batters he had faced. But the Barbs got three back in the bottom of the sixth to make things close until the seventh.
"It hurts, and it just gives the kids another season to sulk and put their heads down," Latimer said. "But we're going to bounce back. We have Indian Creek coming in here Saturday and we're going to look at a win on that and go after them as hard as we can then get ready for Naperville North next week."
In addition to Kees being unable to pitch, the team lost two outfielders when Cole Latimer and Landon Simonson slammed their heads together when both dove for a ball in left-center field. Both were still on the ground for a few second. While both stayed in the game in the field unit the inning left, both came put to pinch hitters in the bottom of the third.
"[Kees] would have been going which I'm very upset about," Josh Latimer said. "Then with Cole and Landon out there, going after the baseball and they both get taken out. We needed those bats in the lineup."
Jayden Malone scored three times for the Mustangs, walking twice and belting a double. Wrona had half of the Mustangs' six hits. DeKalb made seven errors in the game.
Nelson and Clearance each had two hits for the Barbs.
Latimer said it was the worst game the team played this year.
"I'm completely disgusted with the effort," Latimer said. "The way we played from the very first batter of the game, it was just a bad, horrible day up and down. And it's all on me. We're going to get back to work and we're going to try to fix this."