BOLINGBROOK — At the end of the day, it was a common refrain for Bolingbrook’s baseball team.
Mental mistakes and inconsistent hitting cost the Raiders in a 5-3 loss to Plainfield East in Monday’s Class 4A regional playoff game, just as they did during an up-and-down regular season.
“The last couple weeks we’ve been in a bit of a funk at the plate,” Bolingbrook coach Chris Malinoski said. “I thought we were starting to put it together a week ago, but all of a sudden we went cold again.”
It’s true that Bolingbrook (11-18) nearly matched Plainfield East in the hits department, but the Raiders were no-hit for three-2/3 innings, and when they started hitting later in the game they couldn’t string enough hits together to rally for the win.
East (14-17) grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. A hit batter, error, and two consecutive walks allowed Drew Demumbrum to score the first run, and Mike McGee’s groundout plated Chayanze Stirbis with the second run. Jeremy Dutton led off the second with a single and scored on Demumbrum’s two-out single for a 3-0 Bengal lead, which really put the pressure on the Raiders.
“You can pitch as well as you want, but if you’re not hitting it puts more pressure on your pitchers to throw the perfect pitch,” Malinoski said.
Nick Sramek’s two-out double in the fourth ended Demumbrum’s no-hit bid, and Bolingbrook narrowed the deficit in the fifth on Chandler Piekarski’s two-run home run. But the Bengals came back with two runs, one on a squeeze play, in the top of the sixth to pad their lead.
“Once we score we have to be able to stop them from scoring, and we weren’t able to do that,” Malinoski said.
Back-to-back doubles by Piekarski and Jacob Huff made it a 5-3 game in the bottom of the seventh, but Bolingbrook couldn’t complete the rally. The loss signaled the end of the road for a large senior class that enjoyed some of the best seasons in Bolingbrook baseball history.
“We’re losing a great group of kids,” Malinoski said. “It was 14 seniors, a lot of which had been with me on varsity for three or four years, and it was a close-knit group. It’s going to be a big overhaul next year.”
Huff is one of a few sophomores and juniors that are slated to return next season. He said the mark the current group of seniors made on the program will carry over in future seasons.
“I’ve got another couple years left, but I’m mad I wasn’t able to do everything I could for the senior group that’s leaving,” Huff said. “They were intense and they brought excitement for the game every day.”