Mustangs on pace for better Gold finish
|Morton shortstop Luis Rivera leaps and catches a high throw to second, backed up by Angel Munoz, against Downers Grove South April 13 in Berwyn. (Bill Ackerman – firstname.lastname@example.org)|
BERWYN – On the surface, Morton baseball’s 0-4 week last week was a humbling experience, but the Mustangs remain optimistic about the season.
After getting shut out in both games of Saturday’s doubleheader against Hinsdale South, the Mustangs’ losing streak reached four games. During that streak, which also included losses to Leyden and Oak Park-River Forest, Morton scored just two runs.
Sergio Villalobos, who was expected to return Saturday, missed all four games after the stitches in his left hand reopened Friday. Luis Rivera also has been out of action, which meant two key hitters were out against a quality West Suburban Gold opponent.
“Without those two, they’re two of the better guys, we’re struggling,” Morton coach Mike Casey said. “We’ve got guys playing out of position because of that. Then you can see we’ve struggled with the bats.”
Despite the rough patch, there is hope when Villalobos and Rivera return. Morton still sits in third place in the conference with one series left, a three-game set against Addison Trail starting May 11.
The series against the top two teams in the Gold standings, Downers Grove South and Hinsdale South, are behind Morton, so the Mustangs hope they can get on a run.
Before the AT series, Morton has upcoming nonconference games against Hinsdale Central, Montini and York.
“I think we can beat Addison Trail a couple times,” senior Eli McMahon said. “Hinsdale and Downers are two really good teams, but we should have snuck at least one from both of them.”
McMahon was a bright spot Saturday, throwing a complete game and allowing just two runs in Game 1’s 2-0 loss. Morton lost, 6-0, in Game 2.
Considering how much the Mustangs have struggled in recent years, this season’s competitive team has injected life back into the program. A third-place finish in the Gold would be a noteworthy accomplishment after hanging near the bottom of the league.
“Last year we were second to last,” Casey said. “The last few years we’ve been around there. That’s the goal and then get everyone healthy and get ready for the playoffs.”