Pietrzak, Sentinels edge Lions in crucial league win
LISLE – For a long time, Jean Pietrzak was focused on just one thing: beating Lisle’s baseball team.
The Westmont senior helped his thoughts become reality as he pitched the Sentinels to a 3-1 win over the Lions on Monday under the lights night at Benedictine University.
“All I could think about the past week was playing Lisle and beating them,” said Pietrzak, who pitched all seven innings and yielded just four hits and one run. “We expected a tough game because both teams were tied for first in conference. Our team came together and won even though we made some mistakes.”
Coming into the game, the Sentinels and Lions were tied in the loss column at the top of the Interstate Eight North Division. The win upped Westmont’s record to 11-2 in conference while Lisle slipped to 9-3-1. The Sentinels (20-4 overall) didn’t have much time to celebrate the win as the two teams were scheduled to meet again Tuesday, but there was plenty to like about Monday’s game.
“I couldn’t be happier with the way we played,” Westmont coach D.J. Cocks said. “In the bottom of the sixth we gave up a run with a couple of errors after we scored, and with Alex Ventrella on the mound (for Lisle) you know you’re not going to get many opportunities to score. But the kids battled through the mistakes and really showed me something. Our teams in the past would have folded up the tent and lost, but we stayed positive and picked each other up.”
Pietrzak delivered an RBI single that scored Ryan Schlicher in the top of the sixth, but a hard infield hit by Brian Czyl and a two-base throwing error on Ryan Van Volkenburg’s ball in play allowed Czyl to score and knotted things up.
A pair of Lisle (14-7-1) errors allowed Zach Moran and Greg Pietrzak to reach base to start the top of the seventh. Moran scored on Tommy Franczak’s infield single and Pietrzak came home on Schlicher’s single to left field. Jean Pietrzak worked his third 1-2-3 inning of the game in the seventh, which included his sixth strikeout, to deliver a Westmont victory.
“All four of my pitches felt great. There was nothing I couldn’t throw,” Pietrzak said. “I never beat Lisle before in baseball. It feels great to get that first win against them.”