Hammond rallies, then rain comes Baseball

April 22, 1993|By Chuck Acquisto | Chuck Acquisto,Contributing Writer

Wilde Lake senior pitcher Josh Brookes was one pitch away from a gutty seven-inning shutout. Hammond senior batter Mike Kaplan, facing an 0-2 count with runners at second and third, was a strike away from stranding the Bears' 10th and 11th runners.

Brookes went for the game-ending strikeout with a slider, but Kaplan reached over the plate and stroked a two-out single down the right-field line that scored Andrew Jenkins and Dave Brewer to tie the score at 2-2.

Kaplan (2-for-4, 2 RBI) picked a perfect spot to end Hammond's 0-for-9 slump with runners in scoring position. After a scoreless eighth inning, rain halted play, and the game was suspended with the completion to take place when Wilde Lake (1-4, 0-2) travels to Hammond (4-2, 1-1) on May 14 .

"Their kid [Kaplan] did a nice job of hitting that pitch where it was," Wilde Lake coach Tim O'Brien said. "That was an outstanding piece of high school hitting. They [Hammond] really stepped up and made some big plays and Josh threw a terrific game."

Brookes, who escaped a first-inning two-on, two-out jam by getting Kaplan to pop up to Wildecats shortstop Bill Ferguson, was spotted an early 2-0 lead.

In the bottom of the first, Ferguson (2-for-3) hit a two-out double over the head of Hammond left fielder Matt Cyran. After Hammond senior pitcher Jon Yezek (seven strikeouts) walked Nate Casella, Ferguson stole third base. With Mark Davis at bat, Ferguson scored on a wild pitch. Davis then singled home Casella for a 2-0 lead.

Wilde Lake threatened again in the second inning. After Mike Hinman walked and Tony DeSantis singled, Wildecats senior Brian Gerring lined a shot that was snared by Hammond second baseman Dave Brewer in the tip of his glove for the final out of the inning.

Yezek settled down, allowing just two Wilde Lake hits after the second inning. Brookes, meanwhile, battled to escape fourth-, fifth- and sixth-inning jams.

In the fourth, with Hammond runners on second and third base with two out, Brookes struck out Justin Lavis. In the fifth, Brookes wiggled out of the same predicament by getting Joe Brewer to ground out to Gerring.

"Today my slider wasn't on, so when I got in a jam I just reached back and came with the heat," said Brookes, who struck out five and allowed four hits in eight innings.

Brookes loaded the bases with two out in the sixth, but got Hammond designated hitter Robbie Laing to pop up to Ferguson.

Hammond had a chance to end the game in the bottom of the seventh inning. Gerring doubled off of Yezek with two outs. Bears coach Bob Maxey brought in Cyran to pitch, and he intentionally walked Ferguson. After Gerring stole third base, Cyran struck out Casella to send the game into extra innings.

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