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Big bats send Sentinels on winning streak

WESTMONT — At this point, it’s hard for Westmont baseball coach D.J. Cocks to pinpoint one thing he likes about his team.

That’s because the Sentinels are doing so many things well.

After starting the season with a 4-3 record, which included a shutout loss to Somonauk and a lopsided defeat to Elmwood Park, the Sentinels won five straight. They took two from Interstate Eight Conference-foe Seneca early last week and topped Dwight 9-3 on Friday to improve to 9-3 overall and 3-1 in conference as it got set for an I-8 North series with Sandwich Monday and Tuesday.

“We’ve pretty much been scoring 10 runs every game,” Cocks said. “Our offense has really been carrying us. The way we’ve been scoring runs, it’s really taken a lot of pressure off our pitching and defense.”

Offensively, Cocks said it was a team effort, all nine batters, that has led to big run totals during the winning streak.

That isn’t to say that Westmont’s pitching hasn’t lived up to its end of the bargain. Aside from a 10-9 win over IC Catholic Prep to start the winning streak and a 15-7 win over Seneca April 8, the Sentinels haven’t yielded more than three runs to their opponents.

“The pitching has been really good and carried us as well,” Cocks said. “Zach Moran allowed just two runs against Seneca (in a 12-2 win April 9) and Jean Pietrzak took a shutout into the seventh inning against Dwight.

“When the pitching only gives up two or three runs, we’re going to win those games because we’re scoring a lot of runs right now.”

Pietrzak worked a complete game, scattering six hits and striking out eight. All three runs were unearned. He also went 2-for-4 at the plate with a run scored, three RBIs and his first varsity home run.

The series against Sandwich started a tough stretch in conference play as Plano, Coal City and defending champ Lisle still wait on the horizon. Maintaining the potent offense and tough pitching will go a long way to keeping the Sentinels at or near the top of the standings.

“We’re going to start getting tested as we start playing the better teams in our conference, but that’s good for us,” Cocks said. “We’ve won a lot of games already so we know how to win, and that’s going to help us in the tougher part of our schedule.”

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