MORRIS — It was a case of which team made the most of its opportunities Thursday in the rubber match of the Nothern Illinois Big 12 East series between Morris and Sycamore.
Unfortunately for the Redskins, it was Sycamore that was able to do that, and the Spartans came away with a 10-7 win in a series that saw the visiting team win all three games.
Morris, wearing brand new gold helmets for the first time when they were batting, got off to a good start when Danny Borgstrom hit a two-out, solo home run in the bottom of the first for a quick, 1-0 lead.
Sycamore, however, countered with three in the top of the second on a three-run blast to right by Austin Mereness.
The Redskins got one back in the bottom of the second as courtesy runner Blake Breyman scored on a throwing error, but Morris (10-7, 1-2) left the bases loaded in the inning.
"We kept chipping away, but we needed to put some crooked numbers on the board today," Morris coach Todd Kein said. "On a day like this, with the wind blowing out against a team that hits like Sycamore, one run an inning wasn't going to be enough.
"The home runs they hit were the difference. I wish we could have strung a few more hits together, especially in the middle innings."
After a solo homer by winning pitcher James Marcinkowski gave Sycamore a 4-2 lead in the top of the third, Morris pulled to within 4-3 on an RBI single by Dylan Callahan in the bottom of the fourth and tied it in the fifth on a single up the middle by Kameron Dransfeldt that scored Ben Larson, who was running for starting pitcher Tyler Dunne, who had walked. Dunne struck out eight in five innings.
"I thought Tyler threw pretty well," Kein said. "He was throwing strikes but they just got a couple of balls up in the wind."
Sycamore put together a five-run sixth inning, highlighted by Mereness' second homer of the game, a two-run blast to right. The Spartan added an insurance run in the seventh before Morris rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh and had the tying run at the plate when the game ended.
Jared Lines and Borgstrom led off the bottom of the seventh with a single each and moved up a base on a groundout to first by Dunne. An out later, Michael Metesh, who had doubled earlier in the game, singled up the middle to score Lines and Payton Voitik reached on a throwing error, allowing Borgstrom to score. A single to right by Larson plated Metesh to make it 10-7 and put runners on first and third before a strikeout ended the game.
"We finally strung some hits together there in the last inning, but it was a little too late," Kein said. "We need to do a better job of situational hitting throughout the game and have more productive at-bats."