Baseball: Kyle Funkhouser leads Oak Forest over Evergreen Park
Updated: May 10, 2012 9:48PM
It’s been said time and again the only certainties in life are death and taxes.
Here’s another: achieving victory when providing Oak Forest pitcher Kyle Funkhouser — 9-1, 0.64 ERA — a five-run cushion.
That was proved Thursday when Oak Forest erupted for five runs in the top of the first inning en route to a 6-1 win over host Evergreen Park in a South Suburban Blue tilt.
The win was the Bengals’ 17th straight and improved them to 23-4, 15-2.
“It’s always good to get him some run support,” Oak Forest coach Thad Gatton said. “We don’t seem to do that very often. But five runs in the first inning ... you’re feeling pretty good about your chances.”
Funkhouser went five innings, allowing one run and three hits while striking out six in a tidy 61-pitch performance. Kyle Czeszewski finished the final two innings, striking out five.
Oak Forest sent 10 batters to the plate in the pivotal first frame. Johnny Zubek started things off with a laser up the middle and Brian Richards followed one out later with a single. George Jester (2-for-4) drove in the first run with a base hit for a 1-0 lead.
Cody Murray’s two-run double to the right-center field gap made it 3-0. After a fielder’s choice by Jason Hine extended the lead to 4-0, Kyle Sleeman followed with a double to left-center for a 5-0 advantage.
“It’s a lot easier to throw strikes when you’re up 5-0,” said Funkhouser, a Louisville recruit. “Even if they get a few hits or a few runs, it’s not a big deal.”
Mike Owens singled and came around to score in the fourth for a 6-0 spread.
Evergreen Park (11-18, 4-11) scratched across its lone run in the fifth without the ball leaving the infield. Mark Martin’s infield base hit scored Jack Ryan, who had reached on an infield single.
Funkhouser was the star of the game, but Mustangs pitcher Chance Emlund showed tremendous heart. The senior lefty went all seven innings, giving up nine hits, walking three and fanning seven in a 131-pitch outing.