Prep Baseball Report

No. 15 West tops Central in battle of Lincoln-Ways

By Ryan Quigley
Area Scout

NEW LENOX, IL- A statistic often quoted in Major League Baseball is that the winning team in close to seventy percent of all ball games will be whatever team scores more runs in one inning than the losing team scores in the entire game. The strategy aligns itself with playing for the “big inning”, scoring three runs or more in an individual inning. In a battle of Lincoln-Way’s, the No. 15 West Warriors used the “big inning” three times to win 13-4 over the Central Knights.

Going into the contest both squads were tied for second place at 9-2 in the Southwest Suburban Red Conference trailing Lincoln-Way North by one game. West knocked Central out of a tie for first on Wednesday with a 2-1 win, thanks to senior right hander Luke Morgan (South Alabama commit) twirling a complete game 2-hitter with 10 strikeouts. 

Saturday’s contest would not be a pitcher’s duel, despite the fact that two of the area’s top arms were facing off in senior right hander Brad Bass (Notre Dame commit) for Central and West’s junior righty Steve Skolarz (Indiana commit).

West struck first off Bass in the first inning loading the bases with no one out on a catcher’s interference call, a single by Morgan, and a walk. Bass would have escaped the inning only allowing one run to score if not for an infield error extending the inning, but a Nick Farrell single up the middle plated two runs giving the Warriors a 4-0 early lead. 

Senior outfielder Shane Stover led off the bottom of the second for the Knights with a double to right center, and scored from third after a stolen base and a wild pitch by Skolarz. Skolarz was lifted in favor of senior lefthander Ben Francis after walking the first two Knight’s hitters in the third. With men on first and second and no outs Central senior shortstop Kevin Mampe, the tough luck loser in Wednesday’s contest, doubled to deep left center scoring both runners and cutting the Warriors lead to 4-3.

Bass settled down after the first, throwing three scoreless innings and was lifted after the fourth due to pitch count. All told he kept the Knights in the ball game, allowing three hits, with four walks, and three strikeouts. All four runs in the first inning were unearned.

With Bass lifted from the ball game after throwing ninety pitches in his four innings, West jumped on a trio of relievers from Central over the final three frames, scoring nine runs on nine hits.

In the top of the fifth, Farrell doubled home his third RBI of the day, and subsequently scored on a Jake Robbins triple to right center. Robbins came home on an errant throw from the outfield bouncing into the Knights dugout, increasing the Warriors lead to 7-3. 

Central shortstop Kevin Mampe homered deep to left field to lead off the bottom half of the fifth to cut the West lead to 7-4, and that would be as close the Knights would come the rest of the day.

Morgan out-dueld Mampe on the mound on Wednesday, and felt the need to answer with a solo home run of his own to deep left field to lead off the top of the sixth. West put the game away with three more consecutive hits, and Robbins put the nail in the coffin with a two run double to deep center to cap the scoring in the five-run frame, pushing the lead to 12-4. Morgan finished 3-for-5 on the day with a triple in addition to his homer, and three runs scored. Farrell and Robbins provided punch from the bottom part of West’s order in the 7-8 spots, going a combined 4-for-7 on the day with 6-RBI. Each had two hits and three RBI apiece. 

West banged out 12 hits on the day, but only seven of their thirteen runs were earned, thanks to five Central errors. Central managed only four hits on the day, as West benefited from the stellar relief of the senior southpaw Francis who earned the victory throwing 3 2/3 innings of one run ball with four strikeouts.

Bass took the loss on the mound for the Knights, who fell to 18-9 on the year, 9-3 in conference play. West improves to 25-4, 10-2 in conference play and currently sits one game back of Lincoln-Way North.

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