Touching All the Bases: After scoring 36 runs in two previous victories, Andrew’s baseball team turned to small ball to eke out a 4-3 victory over Homewood-Flossmoor in a non-conference matinee on Thursday in Tinley Park.
The Thunderbolts scored the tying and go-ahead runs in the bottom of the fifth inning without hitting a ball out of the infield. Until then, Homewood-Flossmoor left-hander Dan Lietz (1-1) was in position to gain his second straight victory. He scattered four hits and struck out eight over six innings.
Lietz retired the first two Andrew hitters in the bottom of the fifth—no problem. Then, the Vikings’ defense failed him. Three errors allowed the T-Bolts to load the bases with two outs. Lietz, after recording two strikes on Pat Elget and Justin Rzeszutko—tried to work inside once too often on the 4-5 hitters in the Andrew lineup. Lietz hit both with pitches, allowing the tying and winning runs to score, though there was some debate as to whether Lietz’s pitch to Rzeszutko hit his hand or the bat handle.
Andrew junior center fielder Dan Durkin notched two infield hits and extended his hitting streak to 10 straight plate appearances dating back over three games until he reached on an error in the fifth. Senior right-hander Justin Silverman (1-0) picked up the win with a masterful performance. He allowed three runs—two earned—on five hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked five. Tim McElhaney pitched a scoreless seventh to earn his second save.
Patch’s MVP: Justin Silverman, senior right-handed pitcher, Andrew. He allowed three runs—two earned—on five hits over six innings. He struck out five and walked five.
Homewood-Flossmoor Leaders: Ben Kirchler (2-for-3, double, 1 run scored), Dan Lietz (1-for-2, double, walk, 1 run scored), David Stern (1-for-3, 1 RBI).
Andrew Leaders: Dan Durkin (2-for-3, 1 run scored), Steve Carrabotta (1-for-3, 2 runs scored), Mark Kane (1-for-3, 1 RBI).
Quotable I: “Yeah, he had great stuff,” Homewood-Flossmoor coach Todd Sippel said of Lietz. “The two 0-2 hit batsmen were huge, though. He had a chance to pick up his teammates and had them on the ropes 0-2 on both of those hitters, tried to get on them and hit them. But, other than that, it was a flawless performance. The errors killed us.”
Quotable II: H-F coach Todd Sippel on what he saw on the pitch to Andrew’s Rzeszutko: “Well, the ball doesn’t go 80 feet unless it hit some knob. And, if hit some knob and hand, that’s a hit batsmen. Neither one of the umpires had knob. I beg to differ because it’s not going to go 80 feet off of the hand. And he’s throwing 88-mph, so that’s going to be a broken hand.”
Quotable III: “We made the plays in the field,” Andrew’s Dan Durkin said. “Pat Elget made a great play to end the game for us. And then (Justin) Silverman was just lights out on the mound. He pitched one of the best games I’ve seen him pitch.”
Quotable IV: “I wanted to stay relaxed and just do what I know I’m capable of,” Andrew’s Justin Silverman said. “So, I was just going through the day pitch-by-pitch, not looking forward into the game or looking back on previous pitches. Fastball, curve, change. I’m also working on a cut-fastball. But, yeah, those are my three pitches. And they were all on today.”
Team Records: Andrew is 5-1. Homewood-Flossmoor is 2-1.
What’s Next: Both teams play again Friday. Sandburg is at Andrew. The first pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m. Homewood-Flossmoor faces Marian Catholic at 4:30 p.m. in Chicago Heights.