Cresta, Plainfield North blank LemontPlainfield North's #7 Kyle Palandech is safe at 2nd base with a stolen base as Lemont's 2nd baseman #9 Giovanni Schmitt can not get to ball at home and North won 10-0 in 5 innings on Saturday, May 14, 2011. | Larry Kane~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 14, 2011 6:02PM
A vicious wind blowing straight into the batter’s face on a bone-chilling Saturday morning figured to produce a low-scoring baseball game.
But Plainfield North, with help from Lemont’s defensive breakdowns, worked the elements to its favor as the Tigers rode the pitching of junior right-hander Joe Cresta to a 10-0, five-inning victory.
The Tigers (26-1) have been winning all season. The Indians (18-6) entered having won 13 straight, and they had senior ace right-hander Josh Ferry on the mound.
But while Cresta tossed a two-hitter and allowed only two base runners after freshman Mike Papierski’s leadoff double in the second inning, North scored eight times off Ferry in four innings, including two in the third and five in the fourth.
“We were facing what obviously is a very good team, and we did not play well,” Lemont coach Joe Rodeghero said. “Defensively, this was our worst game since the early part of the year.”
“We caught them on a bad day,” North coach John Darlington said. “We had a couple of bounces and a couple calls go our way, and that helped, too.”
But the way Cresta (4-0) was pitching, not many runs were needed.
“That’s the best he’s thrown,” Darlington said. “It’s good to see from a junior — we will have confidence in him going into next year.”
“I felt really good,” Cresta said. “I had the wind at my back, and it was just a tough day to hit. I didn’t have the feel of my curve the first couple innings, but the fastball was good all day.”
Cresta complimented the excellent defensive support he received, especially from shortstop Kurt Palandech and second baseman Caleb Kissel.
“Their second baseman made two or three tremendous plays,” Rodeghero noted.
Joe Pendolino joined Cresta and Kissel in the spotlight. The No. 9 hitter in the Tigers’ order, Pendolino ripped a two-run double to deep center field in the fourth and grounded a two-run single up the middle to end the game in the fifth. Both hits came on the first pitch of the at-bat.
“I had been thinking too much at the plate,” Pendolino said. “So I said I’m just going to hit the ball and see what happens.
“The double was a solid shot, and the last time up I thought if the first pitch was in the zone, I wanted to put it in play. We had the bases loaded (and nobody out) so we probably would get one run anyway, and if it goes through, the game’s over.”
North leadoff man Evan Whaley doubled in the first inning, advanced on Kissel’s perfect sacrifice and scored on a passed ball. Whaley later reached twice on errors and scored both times. Kissel also had walk in a nine-pitch at-bat and reached on an error and scored. Kyle Palandech scored on a double steal — yes, the Tigers were aggressive.
“We had to try to create runs today,” Darlington said. “If you can get one or two on a day like this when you’re facing a pitcher like that (Ferry), you have to take a shot at it. I was glad to see us do that.”
“We’ve hit a lot of home runs, but this was not a home run day,” Pendolino said. “We put the ball in play. They’re really a good team, and we were able to put a hurt on them.”