Oswego East Slips Past Plainfield South 2-1 in Southwest Prairie Opener

By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting Director

OSWEGO – 40 degree temperatures and two aces on the mound for the Southwest Prairie Conference opener is the perfect recipe for low scoring baseball, and fans at Oswego East were treated to such on Tuesday afternoon as the Wolves slipped by Plainfield South 2-1.

Oswego East senior right-hander Andrew Stout (Southeastern CC) wiggled out of a jam in the top of the first as the Cougars loaded the bases thanks to two walks and an infield error. Stout recorded the two previous outs of the inning on strikeouts, and took care of the third on a groundout back to the mound to keep South off the board.

Plainfield South ace right-hander Shane Ritter recorded two quick outs on a strikeout and a groundout in the bottom of the first, before momentarily losing the strike zone. Ritter loaded the bases on two walks and a hit-by-pitch. The Iowa-bound right-hander induced Jack Borvan to pop up in between the middle infielders in shallow centerfield. Miscommunication allowed the ball to drop as the infielders ran into one another, giving Oswego East a 2-0 advantage on a day where runs were at a premium. Ritter escaped further damage with a strikeout, and went on to fire five one-hit innings with five strikeouts and no walks.

Plainfield South threatened in the sixth after Marcus Stewart led off with a double to deep left center. With one out junior catcher Gabe Wair smoked a line drive up the middle, but Oswego East junior shortstop Mike Zalud robbed him of a hit with a full extension dive to his left, a “Sportscenter” highlight play.

Oswego East coach Bobby Kaminski said, “It was an awesome play, Mike has great range and anticipation, but I still thought there was no way he’d get that.”

After six scoreless innings of three-hit baseball with five strikeouts, Stout gave way to sophomore closer Garret Goetz. Kaminski said, “Andrew impressed competing all around the zone all game long. He threw strikes to both sides of the plate and kept them off balance with his curveball. He didn’t allow them to take many good swings, and it wasn’t a great day to hit.”

Plainfield South threatened in the seventh off Goetz, as the game went down to the final out. With one out, sophomore second baseman Konnor Ash lined hard up the middle for a single and advanced to second on a passed ball. After a key Goetz strikeout for the second out, Ash advanced to third on sophomore center fielder Marco Escobar’s infield single and scored on a wild pitch. Escobar moved to second on the wild pitch, bringing up sophomore shortstop Nick Mayerhofer. Mayerhofer grounded a ball softly up the middle to the right of Oswego East second baseman Jonathan Schurr whose throw narrowly nabbed Mayerhofer. Escobar left on contact and would have scored had the bang-bang play at first gone in favor of the Cougars.

Kaminski said, “Goetz is a competitor, he doesn’t shy away from pressure situations and he’s been clutch for us so far this year”. Oswego East improves to 5-2 (1-0 in the SPC), handing Plainfield South (4-1, 0-1) their first loss of the season. The Wolves and Cougars will meet two more times this week in the SPC three-game series format: Wednesday at Plainfield South and then back at Oswego East on Thursday, both 4:15 starts.

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