Sandburg continues hot-hitting ways
Updated: May 9, 2011 8:14PM
Sandburg moved one step closer to clinching its fifth consecutive conference title Monday, downing host Lincoln-Way East 7-2 in Frankfort.
The victory preserved the Eagles one-game lead over Lockport in the SouthWest Suburban Blue and stretched it to two games against East.
Sandburg (14-6 overall, 8-2 in conference) has four games remaining: two each against Homewood-Flossmoor and Joliet Central.
“We have four tough conference games left,” Sandburg coach Doug Sutor said. “You don’t worry about who you’re playing. You just play the right way and let the chips fall where they may. I like the way we’re swinging the bats.”
Sandburg registered 12 hits, with Mike Malfeo leading the charge with a 3-for-4 effort.
Zach Reks, Dylan Rajkovich and Nick Carney each contributed two hits for the Eagles, who have won seven of eight.
“We have been hitting the heck out of the ball,” said Malfeo, headed to the Illinois Institute of Technology in the fall. “If we keep coming out and hitting like we have, we’ll be fine.”
Nick Bates was stellar on the mound, allowing four hits, three walks and striking out eight over six innings.
Reks drove in the Eagles first run of the game on a double to the left-center field gap against East starter Jake Busch. Malfeo, who had singled, crossed the plate for a 1-0 lead.
The Eagles then pulled off a delayed double steal, with Reks crossing the plate to make it 2-0 before the Griffins (17-7, 6-4) ever stepped to the plate.
“To jump on them right away certainly helps,” Sutor said. “The kids have been aggressive.”
East cut the deficit in half in its half of the first. Bobby Kosola lofted a fly ball a strong breeze carried over the left field fence for a solo home run. Kosola, a second baseman, later added a tremendous catch in short right field on a ball off the bat of Brant Valach.
Sandburg, however, responded with a three-spot in the third. Rajkovich and Carney singled home runs and Mike Imrie added a sacrifice fly to make it 5-1.
Carney added a two-run bomb in the fifth to widen the Eagles’ lead to 7-2.
Which was more than enough cushion for Bates, who benefited from an outstanding leaping grab from third baseman Dan Rizzie in the sixth. Bates allowed an unearned run in the third on a bloop RBI single off the bat of Alec Ornelas.
Matt Rosenberger stroked a pair of singles and walked in three trips to the dish against the Sandburg right-hander.
“The first inning, they really scorched some pitches,” East coach Paul Babcock said. “Jake did a nice job for us. I tip my cap to Sandburg. Their record really doesn’t indicate the type of team they are.”