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WORTH THE WAIT: Diamond Dogs dominate PC in opener, 11-1

STREATOR — The Streator High baseball team started its season off later than most, opening 2018 Thursday here at the SHS Athletic Fields against the visiting Putnam County Panthers.
The Diamond Dogs made up for lost time.
Streator used a combined three-hit pitching performance from Joey Byers, Hunter Telford and Zack Grabowski as well as a 14-hit attack led by Grabowski's 4-for-4, three-double performance, three-hit days from leadoff man Peyton Phillis and Trevor Sember, and a two-run home run off the bat of Telford to win its season opener in six innings, 11-1.
"I thought Joey gave us a great three innings," said first-year SHS skipper Beau Albert after winning his varsity debut. "He was a little rusty there, but he bounced back really well from it. Telford came in and had a little bit of control issues, but he shored it up too, and then Zack impressed me working down and rolling himself a lot of groundballs too. That's what we want, because we feel we're pretty strong up the middle.
"And the bats, with Peyton we've known since Day 1 he's our table-setter ... and he knows that role and is a gritty baseball player. Sember was hitting it, and Grabowski's at-bats impressed me, because he was locked in all day long. That's the stuff it's hard to tell when you're hitting inside hitting in a cage."
Byers (1-0) worked three innings on the bump and earned the win thanks to the 10-run rule-shortened result. Although allowing runners on every inning — one scoring an unearned run after advancing 90 feet on an error and another 90 on a passed ball — Streator's flame-throwing righty was in total control in the top halves of frames before being relieved by first Telford (2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 2 K) and then Grabowski (1 IP, 0 R, 1 H).
Meanwhile, in the bottom halves the Bulldogs offense got to work right away, breaking through with a five-run second (highlighted by Grabowski's first double and RBI singles off the bats of Sember and John Benckendorf sandwiched around Phillis' bases-clearing, flyball double to left-center). Streator added insurance runs in the third (Sember RBI single), fourth (Grabowski's second double, driving in Lucas Sharisky) and fifth (Telford's two-run, line-drive blast over the fence in left) to bring its advantage to 10-1 heading into the sixth. Grabowski's third double of the day put him at second, and first baseman Brett Dresbach's RBI groundball up the middle off Putnam County pitcher Jacob Williams (5 1/3 IP, 9 ER, 2 K) scored Grabowski to enforce the 10-run rule and end the opening-day triumph.
"It was fun, first senior day," Grabowski said. "I wasn't expecting to do what I did (going 4-for-4), but it was definitely fun. ... Everyone was going crazy, everyone was hitting today, everyone was up and excited."
With Dresbach's walk-off, Streator (1-0) out-hit the Panthers (1-3-1) by a 14-3 margin — Luke Carlson providing two of Putnam County's three hits.
"We anticipated (Streator) to swing it well, being a 3A team," said PC coach Chris Newsome, "and offensively I feel we are at a tipping point. I would wager in four of our fives games this year we've had double-digit or close to double-digit guys left on base (nine Thursday), but we're still hitting.
"We're inexperienced, and I have to keep telling myself a lot of these guys are in their second week of varsity baseball. From where we were last year, we're way ahead."
Streator is scheduled off until the middle of next week when the Diamond Dogs visit La Salle-Peru on Wednesday and host Ottawa on Thursday.

At SHS Athletic Fields, Streator
Streator 11, Putnam County 1 (6 inn.)
PUTNAM CO. (1) — Holmes ss 2-0-0-0, Dzierzynski 2b 1-0-0-0, Kreiser lf 3-0-0-0, Tonozzi c 3-0-0-0, Huffstodt cf 1-1-1-0, Olson dh 2-0-0-0, Colby rf 2-0-0-0, Carlson 1b 3-0-2-0, Sabotta 3b 3-0-0-0, Williams p 0-0-0-0, Whitney ph 0-0-0-0. Totals 20-1-3-0.
STREATOR (11) — Phillis cf 3-2-3-3, Benckendorf c 3-0-1-1, Byers p/ss 2-0-0-0, Sharisky 2b 3-1-0-0, Grabowski rf/p 4-3-4-1, Gonzalez dh 2-1-0-0, Sember 3b 3-2-3-2, Vickers lf 2-0-0-0, McGurk ss 1-1-0-0, Dresbach 1b 1-0-1-0, McKinley cr/ph//cf 1-0-0-0, Dutko ph 1-0-1-0, Ramon ph 1-0-0-0, Colter cr/ph 1-0-0-0, Cantrell lf 1-0-0-0, Telford p/rf 1-1-1-2. Totals 30-11-14-9.

Putnam Co. (1-3-1) 010 000 —  1  3  3
Streator (1-0) 051 221 — 11 14  1
GIDP — Sabotta. LOB — Putnam Co. 9; Streator 6. 2B — Grabowski 3, Phillis. HR — Telford. SB — Holmes, Phillis, Grabowski, Sember. CS — Colter. HBP — Whitney (by Byers), Olson (by Telford), Byers (by Williams).
Putnam County ip r er h bb k
Williams (L, 0-1) 5.1 11 9 14 2 2
Byers (W, 1-0) 3.0 1 0 1 2 6
Telford 2.0 0 0 1 4 2
Grabowski 1.0 0 0 1 0 0
Grabowski scored to enforce the 10-run rule with one out in the sixth.

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