After mustering up just three hits through the first six innings of play on a cold and windy afternoon, the Morris Runnin’ Redskins’ bats heated up just in time to steal a 7-3 victory over the Plainfield North Tigers in non-conference action on Monday. Trailing by a score of 3-2 and down to their final out of the ballgame, the Redskins were able to rip off seven consecutive hits and score five runs while improving to 5-1 on the season.
The game was originally scheduled to be played at Plainfield North but was moved to Morris just a few hours before game time. And though the Redskins hosted, the Tigers played the role of the home team on the scoreboard.
Morris gave junior Nick Evola his first career varsity start, and the left-hander turned in a solid performance, scattering seven hits and giving up three runs in 5 2/3 innings while striking out six and walking away with the no-decision.
“It was great,” Evola said of his first start. “I didn’t think I’d get a start against Plainfield North because that’s a really good team, so I didn’t really expect to be out there.”
At first, the jitters of making his first appearance at the varsity level showed on Evola. He walked and hit the first two batters he faced before settling in and pitching out of the jam in the first. He continued to keep a dangerous Tigers lineup off-balance, blanking them through three innings.
“Nick’s not a power pitcher — not a strikeout pitcher — usually. He’s gonna pitch to contact. I think the wind was in his favor today for his curveball, not to take anything away from his ability, and that was his bread and butter. He’s the crafty lefty,” Morris head coach Todd Kein said.
In their half of the fourth, the Redskins notched their first hit and eventually pushed Ryan Borgstrom across on an RBI fielder’s choice by Grant Davis that put Morris on top 1-0. Plainfield North responded in their half of the inning with an RBI single from Jason Tipton.
In the fifth, Trevor Lines doubled and later scored on an error for the Redskins to put Morris back in the lead 2-1. However, the Tigers responded by pushing across another run of their own to tie the game at two.
In the bottom of the sixth, after pulling Evola 5 2/3 innings into the day in favor of senior Preston Miracle and a righty-righty matchup, the Tigers took their first lead of the game when leadoff hitter Kurt Palandech singled into left field scoring Joe Callahan. Palandech was cut down trying to take second on the play to end the inning.
In the top of the seventh with Morris trailing, the Redskins made two quick outs when right fielder Austin Conrod came to the plate and singled to keep the inning alive. No. 3 hitter Grant Schluntz followed up Conrod with a rocket back up the middle for a single of his own which brought Borgstrom to the plate with runners on first and second.
Borgstrom proceeded to flip a single into right field that scored Conrod to tie the game at three for Morris.
“It was an awesome feeling,” Borgstrom said. “Coach told me before to go have fun with this at bat, and I did.”
Miracle then followed up Borgstrom’s single with an RBI infield single of his own to give Morris a 4-3 lead and then an errant throw by the shortstop allowed Borgstrom to score, as well. It was the final of five unofficial Plainfield North errors on the game.
Morris would go on to add two more runs and took a 7-3 lead into the bottom of the seventh, as Miracle finished out the game and notched a victory in relief by retiring the side in order, striking out the final two batters of the game.