STREATOR — With senior starting pitcher Joey Byers seemingly in complete control up four runs and hurling a no-hitter through four and two-thirds innings, the Streator High School baseball club seemed like a lock to take down Interstate Eight Conference foe Manteno.
But the worm turned somewhat sour from there as the Bulldogs committed a pair of two-out errors that allowed three unearned runs to tally in the fifth and another in the seventh that sent the game into extra innings.
There, Streator flipped the script to score a single unearned marker in the bottom of the eighth after two Manteno miscues allowed junior Lucas Sharisky to drive home senior Mitch Vickers with a two-on, one-out, walk-off single to left past a pulled-in infield that gave the Bulldogs a scintillating 5-4 league victory Tuesday here at the SHS Athletic Fields.
Sharisky (2-for-5, three RBIs) also produced a two-run single while Byers, Vickers, and Brett Dresbach also enjoyed two-hit plate appearances.
Peyton Phillis added a solo home run as the Bulldogs (5-5, 3-2) earned their third consecutive victory and moved back to .500 on the season with Sharisky providing the magic moment after the Panthers had evened things up during regulation play.
"Their pitcher was throwing outside, so I knew I wanted to take it the other way," the left-handed hitting Sharisky said. "The infield was playing in and I just tried not to strike out and wanted to move the runner home for the game winner. I expected off-speed but he threw me a fastball out and I just took it to the opposite field. It was a great feeling when I saw the ball fall in for a hit."
Streator also got amazing pitching efforts from Byers (6.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 9 K) and eventual winning relief hurler Zack Grabowski (1.2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K) who raised his record to 3-1 on the mound, both limiting Manteno only two hits on the day.
"Earlier in the season we'd make a couple of two-out errors and couldn't respond and get the win," said SHS coach Beau Albert. "Today we did and it was nice to see because the guys could have put their heads down in the tank after losing a four-run lead but they didn't. Credit Lucas for his game-winning hit and our pitchers Joey and Zach were outstanding holding a good Manteno club to only a few hits. We're back to .500 and it feels good after a win like this."
Streator got on the board first in the bottom of the third when senior Peyton Phillis blasted the first pitch of the frame off Manteno starter Josiah Zamora ( 6 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 9 H, 2 BB, 8 K) over the fence in center field to give Streator a 1-0 lead. It was Phillis' first homer of the season after returning from injury.
"It felt good to come back and contribute with the homer," Phillis said. "I was just trying to help in any way I could and that got us started."
The Bulldogs would add three more off Zamora in the fourth. Key in the rally was Sharisky's two-out, two-run single that plated Phillis and Vickers who had walked earlier.
Manteno (9-2, 2-2) then mounted its comeback courtesy of Streator's first two-out error in the top of the fifth. Trey Vorwald would stroke an RBI single after the miscue and Matt Rose followed with a two-run base knock – the only two Manteno hits of the game – that cut the Streator lead to 4-3.
Then with two out and a runner at second base in the top of the seventh the Bulldogs committed another crucial error that allowed the Panthers to even things up and send the game into extra innings.
After one out in the bottom of the eighth, Vickers reached on an infield single and went to second after a misplayed throw to first base. He'd advance to third as Byers got on after another Manteno error which set the stages for Sharisky's heroics against Panther's reliever Camen Rodriquez who took the hard luck loss.
"We got back into it capitalizing on their errors, but then we committed a couple of our own and allowed them to win the ballgame," said MHS coach Matt Beckner. "Credit Streator and especially their fine pitching for keeping us from coming back to get this one. It's a tough one to lose but we'll hopefully learn from this and move on."
At SHS Athletic Fields, Streator
Streator 5, Manteno 4 (8 inn.)
MANTENO (4) — Bechard cf 3-1-0-0, Vorwald lf 3-2-1-1, Crews ss/c 3-0-0-0, Rose rf/1b 4-0-1-2, Crockett c 0-0-0-0, Barrios cf/rf 2-0-0-0, DeRose ss 3-0-0-0, Trepanier 2b 2-0-0-0, Nicks 2b 2-0-0-0, Rodriquez 3b/p 2-0-0-0, Riner 1b 2-0-0-0, Zamora p/3b 3-0-0-0. Meyer cr 0-1-0-0. Totals 29-4-2-3.
STREATOR (5) — Byers p/ss 5-0-2-0, Colter cr 0-0-0-0, Sharisky 2b/3b 5-0-2-3, Benckendorf c 4-0-1-0, Dutko cr 0-0-0-0, Gonzalez dh 2-0-0-0, Cantrel rf 0-0-0-0, Grabowski rf/p 2-0-1-0, Telford lf 3-0-0-0, McKinley pr 0-1-0-0, Dresbach 1b 3-0-2-0, Ramon pr 0-0-0-0, McGurk pr/2b 0-0-0-0. Sember 3b/1b 3-0-0-0. Phillis cf 3-2-1-1, Vickers ss/rf 3-2-2-0. Totals 33-5-11-4.
Manteno (9-2, 2-2) 000 030 10 — 4 2 5
Streator (5-5, 3-2) 001 300 01 — 5 11 3
LOB — Manteno 7; Streator 11. HR — Phillis. SB — Byers 2, Vorwald. SAC — Sember, McGurk. HBP — Crockett, Rodriquez, Crews (by Byers), Telford (by Zamora).
Manteno ip r er h bb k
Zamora 6.1 4 3 9 2 8
Rodriquez (L, 1-1) 1.0 1 0 2 0 0
Byers 6.1 4 0 2 2 9
Grabowski (W, 3-1) 1.2 0 0 0 0 1
Game ended with one out in the bottom of the eighth.