JOLIET — Joliet West pitcher Jake Herron threw a two-hitter on Friday in the regional opener. In and of itself, that would make beating the Tigers a hard task.
Minooka junior starting pitcher Mitch Vogrin gave up two hits, two walks, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch before recording an out. The Indians relief staff was stellar on the day, but the three first -inning runs by West was more than enough for Herron as the Tigers prevailed by a 4-1 score in the Class 3A Joliet Central Regional.
“It was a nightmare start,” Minooka coach Jeff Petrovic said. “That’s what you think of when you think of worst-case scenario. Mitch couldn’t find the plate and he got himself in trouble.”
“Unfortunately, when you start to struggle, you start to question yourself,” Minooka pitching coach Jim Lamping said. “So much of baseball is about confidence. Mitch has been a great pitcher this year, he just couldn’t get a feel for the strike zone today.”
The start by Vogrin is the biggest storyline of the day for the Indians since the remainder of the action on the day included an unearned run by Minooka in the fourth inning and a solo run by the Tigers in the bottom half of that frame.
“He walked too many. Vogs is a good pitcher, he was just not on today,” Minooka senior first baseman Max Brozovich said. “They (Tigers) also manufactured runs today and we did not.”
Which is the next biggest thing on the day from the Indians perspective.
Neal Tyrell reached on an infield single in the fourth, went to third when Tyler Desmarais reached on an error by the West left fielder and scored on a sacrifice fly by Brozovich, but that was it. Desmarias had the only other hit — a double in the sixth inning. For the record, Joe Carnagio reached in the second after being hit by a pitched ball and Chris Costa walked with two outs in the fifth.
“(Vogrin) is a good pitcher and he’ll do a good job for the team in the future, but we also have to find a way to score runs,” Brozovich said. “And we did not do that.”
On the upside, Minooka did watch Josh Mitchell come into the no-out, first inning situation and get out of the frame without further damage by striking out the side. In fact, six of the first seven outs he recorded were on strikeouts. He was then relieved by Trevor Maly and he finished the final two innings with only one batter reaching against him on an error.
“(Mitchell) had a great game,” Petrovic said.
“And Trevor Maly came in and did what he has been doing all year long,” Lamping said.
Minooka only left three runners on base on the day, but Petrovic said that the Indians did have chances.
“We had our opportunities to get back into the game, we just didn’t hit,” he said. “Defensively we made the plays and gave ourself a chance.
“It’s a tough way to end a good season. These kids were a great group of seniors. They are great people. It’s been fun coming out and seeing them every day and being with them. That’s what I’m going to miss starting tomorrow.”
Minooka ends the season with a 23-9 record,
“It’s been a fun season, though it is not the way we wanted to end it by any means,” Brozovich said. “But the last two years in the program has been a lot of fun and we achieved a lot as a team.”