BOLINGBROOK — For the first five innings of Monday’s non-conference baseball game between Morris and Bolingbrook, Redskins pitcher Nick Evola had allowed one hit. The locals had six hits but both they and the Raiders could each muster just one run.
There was plenty of excitement through the sixth, but then things really got interesting when Morris scored a run in each of the final three innings. Still, the hosts countered with solo runs in all but the eighth as the Redskins won the game by a 4-3 score in extra innings.
“I feel that we contributed to some of that excitement early on, but then were able to add on to that by pushing runs across in each of the last three innings,” Morris coach Todd Kein said. “I was very impressed with the team in the last half of the game.”
In the bottom of the third inning, the Raiders scored without recording a hit on a walk, sacrifice bunt, wild pitch and an infield groundout. Still, Morris catcher Jake Capko made up for it with a solo home run with two outs in the fourth.
“We put ourselves into a lot of tough situations in this game,” Capko said. “Early on we fell behind before my at-bat when I came up and homered to tie the game.”
Some of those tough situations came because, even though he was not giving up hits, Evola was effectively wild. Heading into the bottom of the fifth, Evola did walk two and hit two batters to go along with the one hit. He had thrown 56 pitches, only 26 were for strikes.
“He did well, but I know both he and I expect better,” Capko said. “We expect him to work ahead in the count, but he and Bubba (Henry) pitched well.”
Perhaps the defining moment came in the fifth inning when with one out and two Bolingbrook runners on, a wild pitch led directly to a double play. It happened when an Evola wild pitch skipped past Capko, off the bricks behind home plate and right back to Capko.
“Actually, before the game I told Evo that on any passed ball he had better be there,” Capko said. “That was a big situation there.”
Morris enacted the rundown to perfection, first getting the lead runner going back to third and then the second runner who was attempting to make it to third.
“I don’t know how many other programs work on unexpected plays and intangibles like that, but we work on it a lot,” Kein said. “Those kind of things only happen once or twice a year, but when they do happen it helps to be prepared for them. Crazy things like that happen throughout the course of the year and fortunately we executed.”
Fortunate in many ways because Morris couldn’t seem to put Bolingbrook away.
Morris took a 2-1 lead in the top of the sixth on a double by Preston Miracle and, after Matt Bernickus reached on an error to extend the inning with two out, Grant Schluntz delivered an RBI single. An unearned run in the bottom of the sixth tied the game again, though, before Trevor Lines led off the seventh with a single and scored on an RBI single by Capko between the Bolingbrook third baseman and shortstop.
Still, that wasn’t the end of it because Bolingbrook scored against Henry — who had come in to save the game — in the bottom of the seventh.
The Redskins finally pushed across the winning run in the eighth inning when Austin Conrod and Jason Matteson singled back to back, Lines flied out to center to advance Conrod and Grant Davis got the game-winning RBI single up the middle.
“Grant’s hit was huge to tie the game,” Capko said. “Actually, both Grants’ hits were huge.”
Morris is now 24-6 on the season.
“It’s good for us to be in competitive situations like this late in the season,” Kein said. “it’s always nice to see the kids battle.”