Highlights– Caffe De Luca called Thursday’s game their final as the Shabonna Cubs came to Forest Park. De Luca, hungry for a victory, began the game by pressuring the Cubs with nine runs in the first two innings. Miles Guillen, the team’s recent leadoff hitter, continued his hitting ways by setting the table for the heart of the order, and the big hitters did not disappoint. Josh Hill, Matt Skala, Conner Fuller and Jake Gordon each plated runs and scored themselves as De Luca took a convincing 9-2 lead after two. But it was truly a tale of two games from then on, as De Luca gave up 13 runs in the last three innings. Even with the stellar play of Josh Hill at shortstop, De Luca found itself behind the proverbial eight ball in the bottom of the sixth and final inning. Entering the bottom half of the final frame, De Luca found itself down 15-11.
Down, but not out, De Luca clawed its way back. Jake Jordan grounded sharply to second base, but was thrown out. Miles Guillen smashed a Texas screamer to first, but that was out number two. De Luca was down to their final out, but it did not matter for this group tough young men. Clayton Davis laced a single past the second baseman. Josh Hill followed with a single of his own. Matt Skala drove in Davis with yet another base hit. De Luca continued to battle as Fuller drove in both Hill and Skala. De Luca was down one run now, with two outs. Jake Gordon fought off tough pitches. He then lined one to second. The second baseman bobbled the ball and Gordon beat out the throw. The incredible come-from-behind rally ended there, however, as Gordon was forced out at second on a hard hit ball by Jack Sullivan. The game ended in a tie, 15-15, but De Luca was a winner that night as they persevered, fought back, and ended a fantastic season on a high note.
WP- Allison Betke
Highlights– In their wildest game of the season, Two Fish rallied for a 23-22 victory over Vipers 2. Forest Park built an 11-run lead going into the last inning on the strength of two grand slams by Autumn Spears, but the Vipers’ amazing 13-run rally put them up by two in the fifth. With two outs and two strikes on her, who else but Spears lined a shot to center for the game winner. Spears and Two Fish were supported with two RBIs each from Samantha Makaris, Madeline Witt, McKenna Mintz, and Rookie League call-up Genna Foster.
Highlights– On June 18, Mohr Oil played H&R Auto in a weather-shortened game, and came away with a 12-7 victory behind the pitching of Taylor Hassell (one run), Isaiah Sinclair (six runs) and Sydney Higgins-Jones (no runs in relief).
After the first two batters for Mohr Oil struck out against pitcher Tavares Carrington, Brady Ryan walked, Sydney Higgins-Jones doubled and Josiah Simmons tripled. Isaiah Sinclair finished the scoring with a triple to make it 3-0. H&R Auto scored one run in their half of the first. Mohr Oil plated two more runs in the top of the second when Mike Seley walked and was driven in by Taylor Hassell’s single. The score was 6-1 in the middle of the third inning after Ian Alston, who was hit by a pitch, stole home. However, H&R Auto roared back with six runs in the bottom of the third; the score was now 7-6 in favor of H&R. However, as in the past, Mohr Oil found a way to scratch out some runs in the top of the fourth and final inning. With a keen eye and steady nerves, Mohr Oil coaxed several walks from H&R pitching to plate six more runs, then shut their hitters down for the win.
On June 19, Mohr Oil lost for the first time in a long while. In a rematch of the first game of the season, the Firefighters visited Mohr Oil for a night game.
With the crafty Ricky Garza on the mound for the Firefighters, Mohr Oil was shut out for three full innings, and found themselves down 3-0 with Josiah Simmons on the mound, who struck out six. Not until the bottom of the fourth did Mohr Oil batters cross the plate, much to the delight of the sell-out crowd on hand. Aaron Jordan started things off with a double to right, followed by Brady Ryan’s run scoring double, Sydney Higgins-Jones’ double, scoring Ryan, followed by Brian Jimenez’s walk and two ground outs that tied the score at three. But the Firefighters showed much improvement since their first encounter with Mohr Oil when they scored five runs in the top of the fifth, and scored one more in the top of the sixth to make the score 9-3.
Mohr Oil did not quit and scored five runs to pull within one in the bottom of the sixth, only to see the tying run thrown out at home plate on a perfect relay from the right fielder to the pitcher to home, nailing Ian Alston.
The rubber game was Thursday, June 21.
This wasn’t the “Rumble in the Jungle” this was “Hand-to-Hand on Harrison.” Both teams came to play in this final game. Mohr Oil plated two runs in their half of the first inning. With Higgins-Jones holding the Firefighters to only two runs through the first three innings, Mohr Oil built a 9-2 advantage, only to see it evaporate in the later innings into a precarious lead of 9-8 going into the bottom of the sixth. Isaiah Sinclair finished off the game but two Firefighter runs scampered across the plate for an ending to an emotional and hard-fought game.
Mohr Oil hitters “broke a few windows” with their bats, though. Miles Baggett, Brady Ryan, Isaiah Sinclair, Aaron Jordan, Brian Jimenez, and Milo Hanses all got hits, RBIs or scored runs. Mohr Oil was also throwing some leather around as Milo Hanses prevented two runners from scoring from third base with excellent throws from left field that held the runners. Also making fine defensive plays were Brady Ryan and Josiah Simmons.