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Sports

Prep baseball: Bengals hold off Indians' rally

PLAINFIELD – With several players out because of injuries, Minooka’s baseball team knew that it would have its hands full when they
traveled to Plainfield East on Monday to play one of the Southwest Prairie Conference’s top teams.

The Indians’ prospects certainly didn’t look good after the Bengals scored four runs in the bottom of the second inning to take a 4-2 lead.

Despite the hit to their roster and the score of the game, Minooka was able to close to within a run of East in the seventh inning, as a thunderstorm was about to hit the area. But the Bengals held off the weather and the Indians’ comeback threat to capture a 5-4 victory.

“We talked to the guys in the dugout and said that no lead was safe, since when the wind is blowing, anything can happen, and I’ve seen nine-run leads go away,” Bengals coach Adam O’Reel said. “They took advantage of a couple of things, but overall, Brandon [Ruehle] was outstanding. We talk about pitching and defense, and we got that. We didn’t give them a lot of freebies, like walks or wild pitches. We’ll take it as long as we play clean baseball.”

East starting pitcher Brandon Ruehle went 61/3 for the win, and Nicholas Pratscher hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the second inning to give the Bengals an early lead, and they remained in front for the rest of the game.

“I just focused on keeping the ball low,” Ruehle said. “My defense was making a lot of plays, and that helped us. Everyone has been playing well, and we had some good wins and tough losses, but through it all we’ve hit well, pitched well and fielded the ball well.”

After Colin Olkiewicz hit a two-run homer in the top of the first inning for Minooka (6-10-1), East
(13-6) came back in the second inning with four runs of their own with the help of Pratscher’s three-run home run against starter John Forneris and then the Bengals stayed in front for good.

“Minooka was obviously a tough team, so we knew that it would be a battle the whole game, and we just muscled our way through and won,” Pratscher said. “All day, guys made plays in the field. We really tried to minimize errors. Our teammates really jell together, and you can see that. Everybody has a good time and are having fun and just playing baseball.”

Minooka also got home runs from Pedro Martinez and Scott Harper. Jack Bell got out of several jams in relief for the Indians.

Reid Erickson got the save for East.

“Our guys showed some guts tonight,” Indians coach Jeff Petrovic said. “There were some tough innings, and we stayed optimistic until the end. Things haven’t been going our way, but varsity baseball is tough, and then when you throw a couple of mistakes in there, then you’re making it really tough on yourself.”

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