Baseball: Plainfield North edges MinookaPlainfield North's #20 Joe Cresta starting and winning pitcher and he drove in the winning run with a hit in the bottom of the 7th inning vs Minooka held at home and we won 2-1 on Tuesday, May 8, 2012. | Larry Kane~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 8, 2012 8:16PM
Plainfield North right-hander Joe Cresta had dueled Minooka left-hander Josh Jimenez all Tuesday afternoon in a huge Southwest Prairie Conference match-up at North.
Fittingly, the two faced each other with the game on the line in the bottom of the seventh inning.
With one out and runners on second and third, Cresta, the 3-hitter, lined a 2-and-2 curveball into left-center field to give North a 2-1 victory and help the No. 11 Tigers (24-3, 14-2) stretch their lead over the No. 14 Indians (20-9, 12-4) to two games with battles between them remaining Wednesday and Thursday.
“He’s great,” Cresta (7-0) said of Jimenez (8-2). “He shut us down all day. I just hit a hanging curve. I swung at a 2-0 curve that time up that hit me in the foot, that’s how nasty his breaking ball is.”
“We talked about walking Cresta and would have if the guy in front of him (Zach Zyburt) hadn’t gotten on,” Minooka coach Jeff Petrovic said. “With the small strike zone today, you get nervous with the bases loaded.”
Jimenez hit three batters in the second inning, when North took a 1-0 lead. The second, on an 0-and-2 pitch, filled the bases and the third, on a 1-and-2 pitch, scored the run.
Minooka tied it in the fifth on Nick White’s double and Max Brozovich’s slide past catcher Zach Trusk on a relay play. The next batter, Alex Bebar, whose sliding catch in center field on Zyburt’s wicked liner saved a run in the fourth, flied to left, and Zyburt gunned down White attempting to score after the catch.
“That throw was the play of the game,” Cresta said. “They go ahead there and I’m not sure we score again against (Jimenez).”
“We were trying to be aggressive and take advantage of every opportunity,” Petrovic said. “They made a good play.”
“Both teams had plays to stay in the game,” North coach John Darlington said, citing the double play second baseman Caleb Kissel started to end the Minooka fourth. “It was a tough, well-played game with two good pitchers. Cresta pitched real well.”
Cresta, who threw 95 pitches, allowed three hits. Jimenez yielded six but only two were well hit, including Cresta’s decisive blow on pitch No. 101.