With weather forcing cancellations on both Monday and Tuesday, the Morris Redskins baseball team kicked off its conference slate Wednesday night with a Northern Illinois Big 12 East matchup against Yorkville Foxes.
Nick Evola pitched a complete game to give Morris a 6-2 victory.
On a blustery day with the wind blowing out to right center, Morris was able to capitalize on a costly error to push across a pair of runs and jump out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
Senior right fielder Austin Conrod got the offense started with a one-out double. He scored on an error by Yorkville third baseman Nick Sewruk off the bat of Tim Smyk. Two batters later, designated hitter Tom Cheshareck plated Smyk with an RBI double.
It was the start an opportunistic day at the plate for the Redskins.
“I was happy with the way we were able to produce,” Morris coach Todd Kein said. “We were scrappy offensively. We let some opportunities go, but that’s gonna happen in conference play. Everybody’s fighting pitch to pitch, and every conference game is a dog fight.
“I don’t care how it gets done, it’s that it gets done. Today, it got done.”
And while Morris was busy capitalizing on four Yorkville errors on the day offensively, defensively they were giving Evola plenty of support with an errorless performance.
“I’ll take all those guys behind me right there over anybody in the conference,” Evola said of his defense. “[Senior shortstop Trevor Lines] was an absolute vacuum out there. His play [on a grounder up the middle in the bottom of the fifth that would have plated two runs] was huge for our momentum and it absolutely killed theirs.”
Lines’ day defensively (three putouts and five assists) also translated to the dish where he was 2 for 3 with a pair of runs scored.
Meanwhile, Evola was able to keep a potent Yorkville lineup off balance with a seven strikeout performance as he scattered two runs on five hits.
Offensively, when Yorkville managed to cut the lead to 2-1, Morris responded with a pair of runs in the sixth.
An inning later, when a home run by Yorkville DH Kyle Shimp cut that lead to 4-2, Morris responded with another pair of insurance runs to make it 6-2 before Evola finished out the win with a pair of seventh-inning strikeouts.