With prom just hours after its game on Saturday against the Sandwich Indians, the Morris Redskins’ baseball team had all the reason in the world to play with less intensity than normal. It seemed like that was going to be the case early, as Sandwich scored two runs in the top of the first.
After that, though, the Redskins completely changed gears, scoring the next four runs to take home a 4-2 victory over the Indians. Morris improves to 19-6 on the season.
“It’s a crucial win for us. We need as many wins as possible heading in to the seeding process for playoffs next week,” Morris head coach Todd Kein said. “I never thought for one minute our guys were going to cave in because of prom. Our guys are good at keeping baseball separate from everything.”
The big inning offensively came in the bottom of the third for the Redskins, as they turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 cushion. A fielder’s choice grounder from Grant Davis brought home Jason Matteson to tie the game at two. Three batters later, an infield single brought in Trevor Lines, pushing Morris ahead for good in the game.
“I think our mentality changed there a little bit to help us get over the hump and take the lead,” Kein said. “We started feeling more confidence since our guy on the mound was throwing better.”
The pitcher Kein referred to is Drew Aldrich, who went the complete game for the victory. The senior did not give up any runs after the first inning, and only allowed four more baserunners in the final four innings.
“The first inning was rough for me, but coach told me to just calm down and keep my head in the game,” Aldrich said. “I did that, just went out there and battled, and got the win.”
Although the Redskins were able to hold on to the victory, they didn’t do it without a little controversy. With a runner on first and nobody out in the top of the seventh, the Indians’ Jake Roehn hit a grounder to Morris’ second baseman Matt Bernickus, who flipped it to Lines at second to try and turn a double play. Although it seemed as if they were able to pull it off, the umpire called the runner at second safe, prompting Kein to come out and argue the call, but the play stood on the field.
The next play, however, did go the Redskins’ way. A slow grounder from Sandwich’s Austin Smith was hit towards third baseman Ryan Borgstrom. Borgstrom fielded the ball, threw it to first baseman Grant Schultz to get the out in time — or so it seemed. The umpire called Smith safe, once again bringing out Kein to argue the call with the umpire. This time, the umpire reversed his decision, calling Smith out for the second out of the inning.
Aldrich struck the next guy out to end the game.
“All we ask for is that calls are consistent,” Kein said. “Umpires have to be ready to make the calls, whether it’s a big situation or not. It’s what we expect out of our players and us coaches as well.”
The win puts Morris in a nice spot with two weeks left in Northern Illinois Big 12 East conference play. The Redskins do, however, have to play rival Kaneland next week, a team that has always given them trouble.
“We have three of our pitchers down right now, so I felt that I needed to help us get this victory today to help us gain some momentum into a big week in conference next week,” Aldrich said.