Dennis leads Rolling Meadows to MSL championship



By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

ROLLING MEADOWS – The Mid-Suburban League championship game didn’t begin the way Rolling Meadows ace Matt Dennis had envisioned, surrendering two runs in the top of the first inning to visiting Barrington.

But as the game plodded along, the senior right-hander and his teammates gradually gained momentum. And once they got going, Dennis and the Mustangs didn’t stop until they ran away with an emphatic 11-6 victory Friday to win the school’s first Mid-Suburban League title since 2009.

The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Dennis, who did much of the heavy lifting to propel Rolling Meadows (18-9-1) to the MSL East title, was up to the task again against MSL East champion Barrington (20-11). The Bradley University recruit surrendered nine hits in his complete-game effort with eight strikeouts and three walks to improve to 8-0 on the season.

As the game progressed, he seemingly got stronger. After Barrington mounted a 4-0 advantage in the top of the third inning, Dennis settled down and began to throw his four-pitch repertoire with more confidence. He finished the game with a flourish, striking out the game’s final batter with an 87-mph fastball on the outside black to seal the Mustangs’ championship.

Dennis, also the team’s three-hole hitter, helped his own cause at the plate, as well. He blasted a two-run homer to left field in the sixth and delivered a run-scoring double in the third to finish 2-for-3 with three RBI and was hit by a pitch.

In the beginning, Barrington looked like it was going to cruise to its first MSL title since 2005. The Broncos jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first on Ryan Lidge’s RBI single and an RBI by Scott Nelson (2-for-4, double, RBI). Barrington extended its lead to 4-0 in the third. All the while Barrington junior ace right-hander Wyatt Trautwein (5-3) was dealing.

Rolling Meadows chipped away for two runs in the bottom half of the third. Then the Mustangs’ offense erupted four seven runs behind five hits and three walks in the fourth. The Mustangs opened the inning with the first four batters reaching base. Dan Hendricks opened the inning with a single, and he also delivered the biggest blow when he slugged a three-run double to cap the outburst.

Hendricks finished the game 3-for-4 – his only out was when sophomore right fielder Mitch Pfeiffer robbed him with a diving catch. Mickey Wazorick added a pair of hits and two RBI for the Mustangs.

Lidge, a Notre Dame recruit who’s one of the top 2013 prospects in Illinois, finished 1-for-4 with two RBI for Barrington, and Pfeiffer went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, an RBI, a walk and several stellar plays in right field.

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