RURAL STREATOR — Like mixing toothpaste with orange juice, combining the inability to strike out opponents with difficulty fielding the baseball cleanly makes for some tough-to-stomach results.
Marquette's hitters put the ball in play at-bat after at-bat, and Woodland/Flanagan-Cornell's defense had a tough time turning those in-play balls into outs, leading to a 12-1, five-inning Crusaders victory Thursday over host WFC here on a cloud-covered but beautiful day at Woodland's baseball diamond. The win completed a two-game Tri-County Conference sweep for the Crusaders (9-0 overall, 2-0 TCC).
Michael Killelea was 3-for-3 with two doubles and three RBIs, Logan Komater and Zach Dyche each provided two hits and three runs batted in, Luke Couch added his own two-hit day, Bryce Foster scored three runs, and Kyle Cook and Connor Durdan each added single RBIs to spearhead the Cru attack. In 36 plate appearances, Marquette batters suffered just one strikeout — that not until their penultimate at-bat of the game.
"That's something we worked on yesterday," said MA coach Todd Hopkins, "because (WFC's Tuesday starter Kyle) Voytko struck us out a lot. It was a point of emphasis at practice yesterday, and it's nice to have an ex-pro baseball player (assistant coach Brad Waldron) on your staff so he can throw BP. ...
"That's something we stressed, putting the baseball in play, and I thought we did that and took advantage of some of (WFC's) mistakes, too."
The Crusaders scored three times in the first and added crooked numbers in the third, fourth and fifth innings to pull away. RBI doubles from Komater and Killelea highlighted the first; Cook's RBI single to right-center the third inning; a Dyche RBI single the fourth; and a Komater two-run single and Killelea sacrifice fly the five-run fourth.
Each and every one of the top halves of innings in which Marquette scored opened with a WFC error— an E6 to start the first, E9 in the third, E3 in the fourth and E4 in the fifth. For the game, the Warriors (2-6 overall, 1-3 Tri-County) committed six errors.
"Everything we talked about at practice yesterday and before the game today was, when you play good teams you can't give them four-, five-, six-out innings, You have to make plays," Warriors coach Bubs Hoffman said.
"Give (Marquette) credit. They put a lot of balls in play today, and once again like the other night, they got the hits when they had guys on base ... but it doesn't matter what level of ball you're at. You can't (commit errors like) that.
"It doesn't matter if it's t-ball, high school, major leagues. Those are the things that are going to kill you, and it added up."
In the bottom halves of innings, meanwhile, the Warriors routinely got runners on against Marquette southpaw starter Max Mitchell (4 IP, 1 ER, 3 K), but only managed to get one of them in. Collin Hjerpe drew a one-out walk in the first, moved to second on a single by Mitchell's counterpart and losing pitcher, Chandler Hillebrenner (4+ IP, 3 ER, 0 K), and scored on a soft, two-out single down the left-field line off the bat of Clayton Sibert.
"We played clean defensively," said Hopkins, "I thought Max threw a really good game, and Hunter (McAlpine, 1 IP, 0 R, 1 K) came in and did a nice job."
At Woodland, rural Streator
Marquette 12, Woodland/Flanagan-Cornell 1 (5 inn.)
MARQUETTE (12) — Melvin ss 4-2-1-0, Couch 2b 3-2-2-0, Komater cf 4-2-2-3, Foster 3b 3-3-1-0, Dyche c 3-0-2-3, Killelea 1b 3-1-3-3, Snook rf 2-0-0-0, Price dh 4-0-1-0, Cook lf 4-1-1-1, Mitchell p 0-0-0-0, Dougherty c 0-0-0-0, Reynolds cr-3b 0-1-0-0, C. Durdan 1-0-0-1, McAlpine p 0-0-0-0. Totals 31-12-13-11.
WFC (1) — Jenkins ss-p 3-0-1-0, Hjerpe 3b-ss 2-1-1-0, Voytko 1b 3-0-0-0, Hillebrenner p-3b 2-0-1-0, Sibert c 2-0-1-1, Albertson dh 2-0-0-0, Dodge 2b 1-0-1-0, Simpson rf 2-0-0-0, Ewing cf 2-0-0-0, Redd lf 0-0-0-0, Derossett cr-2b 0-0-0-0. Totals 19-1-5-1.
Marquette (9-0, 2-0) 302 25 — 12 13 0
WFC (2-6, 1-3) 100 00 — 1 5 6
LOB - Marquette 9; WFC 5. 2B - Killelea 2, Komater. SAC - Couch. SF - Killelea. SB - Killelea. HBP - Dyche (by Jenkins).
Marquette ip r er h bb k
Mitchell (W, 4-0) 4.0 1 1 5 2 3
McAlpine 1.0 0 0 0 0 1
Hillebrenner (L, 2-2) 4+ 11 3 12 2 0
Jenkins 1.0 1 0 1 0 1