Baseball: Metea Valley takes two from slumping South Elgin
By Brandon Mangia For Sun-Times Media May 12, 2012 6:37PM
Updated: June 14, 2012 8:33AM
Metea Valley and South Elgin look like two teams headed in opposite directions.
The visiting Mustangs capped off a three-game sweep over the Storm on Saturday with a 4-3, 3-1 (10 innings) doubleheader sweep thanks to strong pitching and some late-inning clutch hitting.
Metea improves to 16-15 overall and 13-12 in the Upstate Eight Valley, while South Elgin (16-10, 13-9) saw its losing streak reach six games.
The Storm looked ready to take Game 2 as it rode the arm of Chris Bingham to a 1-0 lead heading into the top of the seventh. However, after stranding nine runners through the first six innings, Metea finally cashed in when an Andrew Fox sacrifice fly scored Billy Sheeren, who reached on a double.
The Mustangs completed the comeback in the top of the 10th when Mike Fitzgerald (3-for-3, two walks) drove a single to right field, scoring Michael Mooney, who hit a one-out double off the fence. Sheeren added an insurance run with an RBI double to put his team on top 3-1.
“I wanted to get up there and drive it the other way and make something happen,” Fitzgerald said. “After Mooney got that double I just wanted to put the ball in play and not try and do too much, especially with two strikes.”
The Storm had a runner on first with one out in the bottom half, but Adam Cielinski (3-1) induced a 6-4-3 double play to end the game. Cielinski pitched the final three innings in relief of Sheeren, who went seven innings and gave up one unearned run on seven hits with five strikeouts. South Elgin scored its run in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI ground out from Alex Wolfe.
“We’ve been doing that a lot lately,” South Elgin coach Jim Kating said of letting the game slip away. “We don’t play with the enthusiasm and passion to get things done. (Metea) deserved to win. They had more passion and urgency than we did.”
Bingham allowed one earned run on seven hits with three strikeouts in eight innings.
Fitzgerald’s banner day of hitting started in Game 1 when he helped the Mustangs to a 2-0 first-inning lead on a two-run double. Metea added two more in the fifth on a Mooney RBI triple and a Fitzgerald sacrifice fly. The Storm cut the deficit to 4-3 on an RBI single from Ryan Ford, and had the bases loaded with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, but closer Kenny Obendorf induced a ground ball to second to end the game.
Tom Bolle (3-2) earned the win for Metea, striking out six and allowing three hits over six innings. Wolfe went the distance for South Elgin, striking out two and allowing three hits. Ford had two hits in the loss, and David Palmer tallied three hits.
“We played pretty good baseball today,” said Metea coach Craig Tomczak. “Tom was really good and gave us a chance to win. Kenny came in and made it interesting but was able to shut the door. He hadn’t pitched in a while so we knew he might be a little rusty. In Game 2 we had a chance to get some runs early, but got the big hits at the end.”