EARLVILLE — Errors are part of most baseball games, and sometimes they can play a huge role in deciding a contest one way or another.
While the Somonauk Bobcats and the Earlville-Leland-Paw Paw Red Raiders combined for a hefty eight miscues Monday afternoon, the five gaffes the Raiders produced hurt a whole heck of a lot more than the three balls the Bobcats booted.
In fact, Somonauk capitalized big time on the handful of E-L-PP errors by collecting 10 unearned runs throughout a 13-3, six-inning Little Ten Conference thrashing of the hosts here at Earlville High School.
Conversely, the Bobcats' trio of miscues yielded only one Raider unearned run as Somonauk (11-0-1, 8-0 LTC) remained unbeaten by blowing the game open with seven tallies in the top of the fourth, all of which were unearned after a critical pair of E-L-PP mistakes.
Within the blowout victory, the Bobcats amassed 11 hits, three coming from senior Andrew Johnson who belted a double and drove in two runs. Senior Brady Kreiter was 2-for-2 with two walks, a homer, three runs batted in and four runs scored, while junior Steven Kenyon was 1-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs.
Kenyon (5-0) also earned the pitching win, going the distance and allowing just two earned runs, four hits and one walk while striking out five.
"During the past few games our bats have been a big part of us taking advantage of mistakes," said SHS coach Troy Felton. "When we played Serena last week, they made a lot of errors and we capitalized on them just like we did today. When other teams are willing to let you get on base with mistakes, you have to take advantage of that if at all possible.
"I was very happy with our effort today."
E-L-PP (6-4, 4-1) imploded behind hard-luck starting and losing pitcher Keegan Johnson (5 IP, 3 ER, 11 H, 4 BB, 7 K) and struggled to find a way to get to Kenyon. Tyler Bretsch registered two hits with a double, while Grant Campbell and Davis Sweeney were the only other Raiders to record safeties.
"Keegan pitched well for the most part and did what he was supposed to do, but we just didn't make the plays behind him today," said E-L-PP coach Bobby Stevens. "If you don't make the plays against a good team like Somonauk this is going to be the result. They took full advantage of what we gave them, their pitcher threw well, and now we'll have to regroup tomorrow."
The Raiders booted the ball twice in the top of the first which led to three Bobcat runs. E-L-PP plated a pair in the bottom of the frame where a crucial Somonauk gaffe led to an unearned marker, as Bretsch also blasted a run-scoring baseknock to cut the gap to 3-2 after one. The Bobcats went up 4-2 in the top of the third when Kreiter walked and eventually tallied on Andrew Johnson's RBI double to left.
Then the floodgates opened for Somonauk in the fourth. After a leadoff error put Liam Roberts on, two outs later he would tally followed by six more of his teammates. Jake Willette plated Roberts with a single followed by an RBI safety from Isaiah Nunez. Kreiter then legged out a three-run homer deep into the right-center field reaches of the fenceless Raiders field that made the score 8-2.
"He (Keegan Johnson) threw me a fastball right down the middle, and I sent it flying," Kreiter said. "I saw it rolling way out there, so I put my horse on and just kept running until I got to home."
Kenyon added an RBI triple and then plated after another E-L-PP error to make it 11-2. The Bobcats added a run in the fifth to go up 12-2 before the Raiders added a single tally in the bottom of the frame after an RBI double from Bretsch made it 12-3.
Kenyon's sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth pushed Somonauk back up 10 before Kenyon closed thing out, invoking the mercy rule by retiring the Raiders in order.
"I felt pretty good from the get-go today," Kenyon said. "My teammates backed me up with a lot of runs, and I was happy to go out there and do my job."
Somonauk 13, Earlville-Leland-Paw Paw 3 (6 inn.)
SOMONAUK (13) — Morris cf 3-1-1-1, Nunez 3b 3-2-1-1, Kreiter ss 2-4-2-3, Johnson c 4-2-3-2, Kenyon p 3-1-1-2, Steorts cr 0-0-0-0, Roberts 1b 3-1-0-0, McNurlan lf 4-0-1-0, Westbrook rf 3-1-1-0, Willette dh 3-1-1-1, Franzone 2b 0-0-0-0. Totals 28-13-11-10.
E-L-PP (3) — Campbell ss 2-0-1-0, Cansino ph 1-0-0-0, Wesson 2b 2-1-0-0, B. Sweeney c 2-0-0-0, Bretsch 1b 3-1-2-2, Pickert cf 3-0-0-0, Shannon dh/p 3-0-0-0, Eager rf 0-0-0-0, Johnson p 2-0-0-0, McNally 3b 3-0-0-0, D. Sweeney lf 2-1-1-0. Totals 23-3-4-2.
Somonauk (11-0-1, 8-0) 301 711 — 13 11 3
E-L-PP (6-4, 4-1) 200 010 — 3 4 5
LOB – Somonauk 3, E-L-PP 5. 2B – Johnson, Bretsch. 3B – Kenyon, Westbrook. HR – Kreiter. SB – Kreiter 2. CS – Steorts. SF – Kenyon. HBP – Wesson, Johnson (by Kenyon).
Somonauk ip r er h bb k
Kenyon (W, 5-0) 6.0 3 2 4 1 5
Johnson (L, 2-3) 5.013 3 11 4 7
Shannon 1.0 0 0 0 1 0