Baseball: Lisle’s Alex Ventrella stymies Westminster Christian
Updated: April 13, 2012 8:56PM
A trip to the bullpen Friday helped Lisle pitcher Alex Ventrella locate his missing curveball.
The end result was an impressive save as he relieved Jon Clayton in the fifth inning and quelled a Westminster Christian rally, then silenced the Warriors the rest of the way for a 6-3 Lisle nonconference road victory.
“This is the first time I’ve relieved this year,” Ventrella said. “I’ve been struggling when I was starting, so this was good for me to get out there and do this.
“I hadn’t found my breaking ball and this is the first time I’ve been able to locate it.”
Clayton had held Westminster to a run on three hits going into the fifth as Lisle (14-4) owned a 4-1 lead. But with two out the Warriors got singles off Clayton by Chase Woods and Tyler Greene and a two-run double to left center by Ryan Perez to close within 4-3.
On came Ventrella and he struck out Scully looking. Then he pitched two more scoreless innings and struck out five of the nine hitters he faced for his first save.
“We’re young and we’ve got to get guys to step up -- that’s the bottom line,” said Westminster coach Jeff Moeller. “We’ve got to start seeing guys step up and until that happens we’re going to be doing the same thing.”
Clayton (2-0) had given up a first-inning run to Westminster on Perez’s single, a wild pitch and stolen base, and Luke Weston’s sacrifice fly, but got the win. He walked one and gave up six hits while striking out one. But he seemed headed for trouble in the fifth. Then the game changed totally when Ventrella came into the game.
Lisle took the momentum from getting out of the fifth-inning jam into the batter’s box and got a two-run double by Kevin Coppin off losing pitcher Zach Edwards for a 6-3 lead.
“We talk about being in a situation where if you give them a chance and you hold them, then it should carry over to the offense, and the other way around,” Lisle coach Pete Meyer said. “It just seems with us most of the time our offense gets momentum out of something we did on defense.”
Coppin, Lisle’s No. 7 hitter, went 3-for-3 with four RBI, including an RBI single in the second when the Lions also got an RBI single from No. 8 hitter Parker Murray for a 2-1 lead.
“Kevin has been coming up with the big hit the last game or two,” Meyer said. “He’s starting to hit the ball hard after he struggled early on.”
Lisle’s No. 6 through 8 hitters went 7-for-9 with five RBI. Coppin also drove in a run in the fourth with a single after No. 3 hitter Ty Howell smashed a line drive homer to left-center off Westminster’s scoreboard.
“We’ve been getting production all throughout the lineup,” Meyer said. “But I can’t say we’ve always been getting that kind of production.”
Kazim Khan went 2-for-3 and Murray 2-for-3 for Lisle. Perez was 2-for-4 for Westminster.
“We should be competing with that team,” Moeller said. “We beat Rockford Boylan and it’s a bigger program. So we’re capable of it. We’ve just gotten lackadaisical. We’ll see if we can step up out of it.”