MINOOKA — After starting the season in a slump, senior designated hitter Austin Polcyn righted the ship Wednesday, belting out two home-runs as Minooka picked up a big 9-2 victory over the Oswego Panthers in Southwest Prairie Conference baseball action.
The Panthers jumped out early on the Indians, as second baseman Rick Tormey had an RBI double in the second inning, giving Oswego the early 1-0 advantage.
The lead wouldn't last for long, though, as Polcyn came up with one out in the bottom of the second inning and smacked his first home run of the day, a solo shot to centerfield to tie the game at one.
"It felt good," Polcyn said. "It just kept on drifting and drifting. I didn't even know it was gone. I thought it was a normal popup."
On the mound today for Minooka was senior Kevin Ruff. Although he ended up throwing 101 pitches on the evening, Ruff was able to keep the Indians in the game, only allowing two runs in six innings of work.
"Kevin is really durable," Minooka coach Jeff Petrovic said. "He's thrown a lot of innings and a lot of pitches for us, and he feels really good. He's built himself up and has been really good so far this year."
After the Indians left the bases loaded with no outs in the bottom of the fourth inning, the Panthers took advantage, as shortstop Tim Wodzisz smashed a solo home run over the center field wall, giving Oswego a 2-1 lead in the fifth inning.
"We had some opportunities to score early and didn't take advantage of them," Petrovic said. "Obviously when you do that, you put yourself in a bad spot and tense up a little bit."
Just like how they did in the second inning, though, the Indians would respond to the Oswego run, scoring six runs in the bottom half of the fifth to take a commanding 7-2 lead. After an RBI single from third baseman Joey Carnagio tied it up at two, Polcyn came up again and hit his second homer of the game, a two-run blast over the left field wall to make it a 4-2 Indians lead.
"It was a great day for Austin," Petrovic said. "He had gotten off to a slow start to the season, but he's starting to come around. He's hit the ball well the past couple of days."
RBI hits from center fielder Alex Bebar, left fielder Steve Wittkamp, and right fielder Carson Neushwander capped off the rally for Minooka, who then added two more runs in the sixth inning to finish off the 9-2 victory.
The victory makes it seven straight wins for the Indians (16-8), but more importantly it clinches the series over the Panthers, who were tied with Minooka for second in the SPC standings coming into the series. The Indians only trail Plainfield North by two games now for the top spot in conference play.
"We have to keep winning if we want to win conference," Polcyn said. "Just got to keep going at it all the time."
"This team has a great attitude right now that every game is a big game," Petrovic added. "We can't look ahead to Plainfield North. With the way that they're playing, we can't afford to lose any games, or else that series won't mean anything. You have to have the right approach and and be able to play good baseball."