Baseball: Plainfield South gets by Plainfield Central in 11 innings
Updated: April 3, 2012 9:16PM
Key injuries and other unforeseen circumstances forced Plainfield South coach Phil Bodine to become a juggler this young baseball season.
In Tuesday’s Southwest Prairie Conference opener at Plainfield Central, the effort bore fruit.
Austin Howarth reached base on a dropped third strike while pinch-runner Matt Cranley scored the winning run in the top of the 11th inning as the Cougars escaped with a 3-2 victory.
“It’s a good win for us,” Bodine said. “A lot of our kids who are playing weren’t expecting to play coming into the season, and we needed this.”
Sophomore left-hander Trevor Henderson worked the first seven innings for South (5-3, 1-0), allowing two runs on three hits. Steve Heffernan singled in the first and scored on Mike Bentson’s single and doubled in the third and scored on Joe Sparacio’s groundout. Otherwise, Henderson was golden.
“It was a huge advantage to have the wind blowing in like it was,” Henderson said. “Without it, there would have been a couple of home runs – on both sides.”
Sophomore Enrique Perez worked two innings, winner Joe Dux one and Mike Crowl saved it. “That’s probably the first nine strikes Crowley threw since December,” Bodine said.
Senior right-hander Tim Blake went seven innings for Central (6-3-1, 0-1), allowing two unearned runs in the fourth to tie it 2-2, and Anthony Cunniff, Eric DeLoach and Jackson Schanks also pitched.
“We played nine innings last night (a 2-2 tie at St. Charles North) and 11 tonight; we’re running out of pitching,” Central coach John Rosner said. “We’re not hitting and not getting timely hits.
“South hit the ball well. Our outfielders (Heffernan in center, Blake Kerzich in left and Bentson in right) made four catches that kept us in the game.”
“Their outfielders made four or five great defensive plays that I put stars next to in the scorebook,” Bodine said.
The Wildcats had an excellent chance in the eighth but a 6-4-3 double play killed that threat, then had the bases loaded with one out in the 10th with the 4-5 hitters coming up and couldn’t score.
Jesse Small’s two-out double on the next pitch after a pickoff and Henderson’s single set up the winning run for South that scored on the dropped third strike.