Baseball: Yorkville rallies, beats DeKalb in nine innings
Updated: May 3, 2012 9:22PM
After an impressive rally in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings, Yorkville pulled out a dramatic 4-3 win in the ninth that keeps the Foxes in the thick of the Big Northern East race.
Down 3-1 with two outs in the seventh, Yorkville’s Mitch Prickett drilled a 2-0 fastball for a two-run single that gave the Foxes new life in the second of the three-game series with DeKalb. After stranding two in the eighth, Blake Szurkowski and the Yorkville defense put down the Barbs in three-up, three-down finish in both the eighth and ninth innings.
After Josh Cooper reached off a squibber that included an error and moved to second on a Prickett sacrifice bunt, No. 9 hitter Ryan May hit a liner straight to the gap in center-right to give the Foxes a three-game win streak heading into Friday’s rubber match in DeKalb.
Yorkville improved to 15-9-1 overall and kept pace with a Kaneland squad, which also stands 9-2 in league play after having taken two of three from the Foxes and a 10-8 Thursday victory over Sycamore. After this weekend’s series with the Spartans, Kaneland has to face 2011 division co-champion Morris in a three-game series while the Foxes cap league play next week with a series against Sycamore hoping to win or share a conference title for the first time since 1988.
“It was just a perfect pitch for me to hit and it felt good on contact, so there was no doubt in my mind it would drop,” May said. “And when I saw (Cooper) rounding third it was that much sweeter. I think this win shows all of us never to give up and believe that we’ve got the skill and talent to win every game.”
The Foxes also had a strong bullpen in countering an unbelievably gutsy performance by DeKalb left-hander Jeremy Karasewski. After a scoreless first, Karasewski was batting with one out when Yorkville starter Tanner Cook’s pitch ricocheted off the Barb senior’s batting helmet and split his upper lip wide open. Once the profuse bleeding was stopped, Karasewski returned to the mound in the bottom of that frame only to be greeted by Cook smacking a stand-up double.
Pinch runner Anthony Romano stole third and came home on Derek Piszczek’s RBI groundout for a 1-0 Foxes lead. But the visiting Barbs got the bases loaded in fourth in order to chase Cook before pushing home two runs. Taking over with no outs and a one-ball count, reliever Garrett Knox forced a pop up and then struck out two to limit the damage.
In the top of the seventh, Danny Petras’ one-out infield single and a stolen base led to his putting the Barbs up 3-1 off an RBI double by Trenton Sopko.
Having moved to first base, Cook began the bottom of the seventh being awarded first when the umpire ruled he was hit by a pitch. After DeKalb coach Jacob Howells’ protests, the Barbs got the first out on a fly ball to right. Piszczek’s line to right put Foxes and first and second before Karasewski was called for a balk to advance both runners. A fly ball to left produced the second out before Prickett’s game-extending blast.
“Coach told me I had to do the job and to keep my focus. I saw a fastball and took it, but the next fastball I drove to center and it felt great,” Prickett said. “I knew it would drop for a single, but I wasn’t sure it was deep enough to get the runner home from second.”
In addition to Cook and Knox, Yorkville got more relief help from Brendan Mispagel before Szurkowski closed the contest to improve his own record to 1-2.
“Mitch (Prickett) and Ryan (May) were a great example of how the bottom of the order really delivered for us, but I have to compliment my bench as well,” Yorkville coach Scott Luken said. “Whether it was pinch-hitting, or pinch-running, we had so many guys step up and the bullpen’s been there all year. Knox pitching out of a bases-loaded jam, Mispagel coming in and Szurkowski closing’ it’s just great to have two or three guys in the bullpen you can go to.”
DeKalb’s Karasewski worked through eight innings before Shaun Johnson came on the ninth and yielded the final run to Yorkville
“I’ve never seen a batter take a full swing and have it ruled a hit-by-pitch. That is the single most disappointing loss I’ve had to watch based on a call like that,” DeKalb’s Howells said. “And then to have two outs in the bottom of the seventh and for the umpire to call a balk on a pitcher who uses the same motion all game long, that’s just unfair.
“As a coach, it’s easier for me to see the big picture and to understand that’s not necessarily when we lost. We had opportunities to put up more runs and if we take care of things earlier, we’re up 5-1 and then it doesn’t matter,” Howells added. “We can’t put ourselves in a position where a two-out hit can beat us.”