DARIEN – The best thing Matt Reschke did Tuesday was a bit of mental spring cleaning.
“Lately I’ve been thinking too much at the plate and I was struggling a little bit,” the Hinsdale South senior said. “Today I cleared my mind and focused on hitting the ball. I hit it hard and found some holes.”
Reschke’s three-run triple in the third inning capped the scoring in South’s four-run frame and was the big blow that helped deliver a 5-4 win over Hinsdale Central in a tune-up game for next week’s playoffs.
Tuesday’s narrow win helped the Hornets (22-9) avenge a pair of 2-1 losses to the Red Devils earlier in the season.
“They had two wins on us earlier, and we didn’t want them to come to our place and sweep us,” Reschke said.
With the conference season finished and playoff seeding wrapped up, Tuesday’s game was a chance for both teams to stay sharp heading toward the postseason.
“It was just a baseball game,” South coach Paul Hoel said. “It was no different than the first six or seven games of the year before conference. You just want to continue to do the things you’re supposed to do.”
“We just wanted to stay focused,” Central coach Tom Dorrance said. “It’s a matter of finding our consistency and continuing to jell.”
An error allowed Mike Meyers to reach to start the third before D.J. Deolitsis singled and Mike Rizzo was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Don Buonavolanto’s walk brought Meyers home and kept the bases loaded long enough for Reschke to clear them with a blast to the gap in left-center field.
The Hornets added another run in the fourth. Meyers again reached on an error, went to third on another error and trotted home when George Cote hit into a fielder’s choice.
Central (15-12) came back with three runs in the fifth. Jacob White singled home Ryan Haff, Matt Muellner plated Jared Eck on a sacrifice fly, and Alec Hutcherson’s single plated White as the Red Devils cut the deficit to 5-4. White walked and scored when Muellner reached on an error in the first inning.
But after the Red Devils sent eight batters to the plate and scored the three runs in the fifth, South starting pitcher Mike Rizzo worked 1-2-3 innings in the sixth and seventh to douse any hopes of a Central rally. Rizzo walked one, struck out two and didn’t allow an earned run as he picked up the win.
Central’s Basil Arain suffered the loss, although he also didn’t allow an earned run. He walked one and fanned two over four innings before handing the ball to Charlie Banke. Central hit the ball hard all game, but it rarely found the ground. The Red Devils had 10 fly ball outs.
“A lot of our losses, we’ve hit the ball hard but we’ve hit it right at people,” Dorrance said. “You’d think one game they’d start falling in there, but what are you going to do? You can’t get upset when kids are hanging tough and having good at-bats.”