Baseball: West Aurora downs Aurora CentralWest Aurora's Jonathon Acton lays down a bunt against Aurora Central in Aurora on Saturday. | Mike Mantucca ~ For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 21, 2012 8:04PM
Coming off a humbling three-game sweep at the hands of powerful Naperville Central, West Aurora’s baseball team needed to bounce back Saturday against Aurora Central Catholic.
Thanks to a boatload of baserunners and the pitching of Ryan Mooney, the host Blackhawks did just that.
Mooney threw six strong innings and a three-hit, three-RBI day from catcher Gunnar Swanson guided the offense in a 6-1 nonconference win.
Mooney wasn’t dominant, striking out only one, but he allowed a run on five hits over six innings to improve to 2-1 in his second start of the season.
“This is kind of the way he threw over the summer,” West coach John Reeves said. “He’s kind of a pitch-to-contact pitcher, doesn’t get a lot of strikeouts. Defensively, if you’re playing sound, that’s good. He gets ground balls and keeps everybody involved.”
West Aurora (6-12) had several chances to blow the game wide open against ACC (7-12) and starter Mike Fidler (1-3). Fidler walked seven and allowed eight hits over five innings, giving the Blackhawks ample chances to score.
But the big hit eluded them until the fourth inning. West scored single runs in the first, second and third innings before breaking out with three in the fourth. The Blackhawks stranded seven and had four other runners thrown out on the bases, but Swanson’s two-run single in the fourth that plated Adam Lipscomb and Ricky Rivera proved to be the only clutch hit they would need in the win.
“I felt pretty good, just looking for strikes and hitting them,” Swanson said. “I just think base hit every time.”
That was more than enough offense for Mooney. He had to work out of tight spots in the fourth and fifth innings due to errors in the field, but other than that, Mooney was on his game Saturday.
“He pitched well,” said Swanson, Mooney’s catcher. “He was getting a lot of ground balls and pop ups. He was hitting his spots and his location was good. Good pitching. We didn’t need to score a lot of runs to win this game.”
It was a frustrating loss for the Chargers, who have seen walks become a problem from the pitching staff as of late.
“There should be no damage,” ACC coach Eric Fulara said. “We can’t walk people. It was the same situation we were in last night, you walk people and then all of a sudden they hit the ball. It’s a free-for-all. You can’t walk people, bottom line. You can’t give free passes.”