Indians, Shepherd, roll past Oswego East 4-1 to stay in SPC race

Minooka’s ace right-hander pitcher Jackson Shepherd (7-0), struggled early in his Southwest Prairie Conference outing on Friday, against Oswego East (24-6, 9-6). Allowing an unearned run and two hits in the first inning and then two successful hits to open up the second inning, it looked like an early exit, for the Indian ace.
“I really struggled  in the first and second innings,” Shepherd said. “My curve ball was hanging over the plate and Oswego East was barreling-up my fastball. My defense turned a couple of double plays and all of a sudden my pitches were working.”
Indeed. Over the next six innings, Shepherd allowed just one single and closed out the 4-1 win, by retiring the last 12 Wolves’ batters.
Jon Butler’s sac-fly in the first inning tied the game at 1-1. Cole Alstott’s RBI single in the fourth, turned out to be the Indian game winner.
“It was a very lucky hit for me,” Alstott said. “Like you said, it’ll look like a line drive in the box score in the morning.”
Shepherd followed with a clutch two-out RBI single, for a 3-1 Indian lead. Logan O’Brien made it 4-1 Minooka, with another RBI single in the fifth.
“Jackson (Shepherd) struggled early for us but with the help of his defense, really settled down and pitched well,” Minooka coach Jeff Petrovic said. “Antonio Milazzo was outstanding for us at second base tonight and all season.”

After Oswego (16-9, 8-6) had tied, another well-played Southwest Prairie Conference battle, in the top of the seventh, Plainfield South’s (20-7-1, 12-3), senior right-hander Nick Becker, replaced the Cougars,Western Illinois-bound starter Jordan Mikel (5-2). It only took Becker two pitches, to nail down the third out of the seventh, setting the stage for Cougar senior Marco Escobar.
Escobar sent Cougar Nation dancing onto Caton Farm Road, with his walk-off single that gave the Cougars a heart-pulsing 3-2 win. With the win the Cougars retain their 1 ½ game SPC lead over Minooka. It was Escobar’s second hit of the day and was joined by Mikel, who had two hits and drove home the other two Cougar runs. Slick-fielding shortstop Nick Mayerhofer, chipped in with a pair of hits for South. Nick “The Vulture” Becker, picked up the 2-pitch win on the mound.

Nate Yusko (5-2) pitched four quality innings, for Plainfield Central (21-7, 10-5), to pick up the win on the mound, as the Wildcats stayed within two games of Plainfield South (20-7-1, 12-3) in the Southwest Prairie Conference. Rocky Pascente and Brandon Callender each drove home a run for Central. 

Keegan Bates and Nick Cerrato, combined on a two hit shutout, as the Tigers (21-8, 10-5) kept pace in the SPC with Plainfield South. The red-hot Alex Steinbach had two more hits with an RBI, while junior Brady Miller chipped in with a hit and an RBI for Plainfield North (21-8, 10-5)

The Lions (10-17, 5-10), behind ace right-hander Zach Heidenry, won the Interstate 8 Conference crossover game on Friday. Heidenry, fired a four-hitter at the Comets. Grant Haen drove home two Lion runs while Ben Lanning chipped in with one RBI.

-Compiled by Drake Skleba

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