WolfPack baseball ends season with sweep

Joe Ballard, Staff Writer

The Madison College WolfPack Baseball team finished off its regular season with a sweep of the South Suburban College Bulldogs in a doubleheader on May 5.

Madison College won the first game, 6-0, and the second game, 3-1.

Madison College finished the season with a 36-14 record, 11-1 in conference, and looks strong heading in to the post-season.

In the first game Rex Morrow threw seven scoreless innings and allowed only six batters to reach first base. Morrow has been strong all year and notching his third complete game of the season. The WolfPack ace finished the year with a 5-2 record with 2 saves and a 1.38 ERA.

Morrow got help from the offense early as the WolfPack jumped out to quick 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Catcher Ben Krause doubled to start the inning. Shortstop Brandon Gibis laid down a bunt to advance Krause to third and reached first safely himself. Outfielder Keith Browning laid down a great push bunt that drove in the game’s first run. Third basemen Dylan Detert singled to right field to bring Gibis home and was driven home the following at bat on a double by Luke Syens.

Coach Mike Davenport spoke to the importance of getting an early lead.

“We got the one run on the board and had another couple good swings and ended up with three in the first. Putting up a crooked number in the first can be big,” he said. “Especially when (our) pitcher is throwing a bunch of strikes and we’re playing good defense.”

The score remained 3-0 until the bottom of the fifth inning when Detert singled to left center to score Gibis and Sam Hurt, who was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Dan Schmidt advanced to third on the play as well and scored an unearned run on a passed ball at home plate to bring the score to 6-0.

In game 2 to the WolfPack sent the previous games first basemen Dan Schmidt to the pitching mound start the game. Schmidt made quick work of the first two innings and had a fine day on the mound.

“I try to come out get a lot of strikes and get early contact, and that’s what I was able to do today for the most part,” Schmidt said. “I was able to keep them off balance with my changeup pretty well because they were kind of free swinging for the fence a lot. And I had good defense behind me. I got a lot of ground balls, fly balls, and that kind of all helped.”

Things hit a snag in the top of third for the WolfPack pitcher as there were two outs in the top of the third a throwing error made by WolfPack shortstop Gibis allowed Bulldog’s shortstop Matt Hoge to reach second base. The speedy Hoge reached third on a passed ball. That brought Bulldog’s big hitting outfielder Stephen Letz to the plate and line drive single to centerfield scored an unearned run by Hoge. Schmidt pitched himself out of the jam and the WolfPack escaped the inning with only 1 run allowed.

Madison College responded in the bottom of the inning thanks to a tremendous effort by centerfielder Browning. Browning stretched a hit to center field in to a double and then stole third. Third baseman Luke Yapp came up to the plate and hit a long line drive back to the fence. The Bulldogs center fielder Dominic Albanese made a highlight real catch colliding with the fence at Robin Roberts field. Browning tagged up and scored the tying run despite an appeal and conversation between the Bulldogs manager and the umpire.

“We put a little pressure on him and had a couple big hits,” Davenport said. “The hustle play to get us our first run was really big. To turn that in to a double and then (then) stealing third. And even though it ends up being a shot were the center fielder makes a great play, it turns in to a sac fly, but that point even a ground ball with (the Bulldogs) back scores a run.”

The Bulldog pitcher Ryan Novak struggled with command all day and eventually Madison College was able to capitalize in the bottom of the fourth inning. Second basemen Sam Hurt walked and stole second to start the inning. First basemen Mike Jordahl and the catcher Krause walked to load the bases for Gibis. Gibis grouned out to second base but scored the runner from third and set up two runners in scoring position with one out. Browning walked the next at bat to again load the bases. The Bulldogs replaced the tall lefthander Novak with right handed Jacob Lorenz. Lorenz then walked Yapp and the score was 3-1 after Detert flied out to end the inning.

The Madison College bullpen was able to handle the Bulldogs for the rest of the day and the team took the second game of the double header. The Madison College baseball team now waits for playoff seeding and enjoys a rare day off after making up so many games due to rain.