BOLINGBROOK - Monday was truly a historical day for Plainfield East’s baseball program as the Bengals topped host Bolingbrook 5-3 in a Class 4A regional playoff game, earning their first postseason victory in program history.
East, the No. 18 seed in the sectional, will face No. 1 Downers Grove South in a regional semifinal game at 4 p.m. Thursday at Hinsdale Central. The game was origianlly scheduled for Wednesday but was postponed due to weather. The Bengals haven’t played the Mustangs this season, but coach Adam O’Reel knows a little bit about them. Last spring, the Bengals fell to the Mustangs 8-7 in a regional semifinal game.
“They’re good,” O’Reel said. “They haven’t lost a lot of games. We’ll see what happens. We gave them a run for their money last year. Let’s see if we can do it again.”
Notching the team’s first playoff win might provide some momentum heading into the Downers South game, but O’Reel said the effect will be mitigated by a day off between games.
“If we played tomorrow maybe we have a lot of momentum, but now we have a day of practice,” O’Reel said. “It’s nice to win and we’re going to be up because we got that first playoff win, but we still have to face some dominant pitchers as we go on.”
Winning a playoff game this spring was hard to imagine back when the season started and the Bengals were scuffling.
“We were 1-8 after two games in the Minooka series and we brought up Drew (Demumbrum) to pitch the third game,” O’Reel said. “We won that game and that helped turn things around. It wasn’t just Drew, but it gave us confidence. The big key with us lately is we’re getting better play defensively and we’ve been doing the little things right.”
The little things helped lift East to victory Monday. The Bengals scored twice in the first inning without a hit. Demumbrum was hit by a pitch and scored on Jovany Urbieta’s walk. Chayanze Stirbis reached on an error and scored on Mike McGee’s groundout for a 2-0 lead in the top of the first.
A pair of infield hits led to another run in the second, and the Bengals scored twice in the sixth, one on Demumbrum’s squeeze bunt and one on a hit-and-run.
Demumbrum earned the starting nod Monday and carried a no-hitter into the fourth inning. He pitched six-2/3 innings before handing the ball to Tyler Veart for the final out of the game.