DARIEN – Doing the little things right goes a long way toward winning a baseball game.
On Monday, Glenbard West executed those little things at the most crucial moments and walked away with a 3-2 win over Hinsdale South.
The Hilltoppers threw out a runner at home on a botched double-steal attempt in the second inning and then tagged out the potential tying run in the bottom of the seventh inning on a failed squeeze attempt that began with a pitch in the dirt.
“It wasn’t our intention to throw the ball in the dirt,” Glenbard West coach Andy Schultz said, “but it ended up working out.
“It was closer than we want but we’ll take the win. There were a lot of those kind of plays that make the difference.”
On offense, the visitors broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning as Hayden Carlson bunted for a hit, stole second and came around to score on a double by Will Simoneit. Drew Vogg later added a sacrifice fly to drive in his second run of the game.
“That’s the kind of inning we need,” Schultz said. “Hayden had a bunt hit and stole second, [Grant] Greeno did his job and hit the ball hard [on a lineout to center], and then Simo [Simoneit] came up and did the same thing and it happened to find a hole.”
Greeno was the winning pitcher, working six innings. Dennis Rudolph notched the save.
“I thought we came together as a team and played well,” Greeno said. “And we got the win, which is all that matters. Especially with the weather early in the season, we want to play small ball. We got runners on and got runners over and executed well late in the game.
“We have a great senior core and some great role players as juniors who can step up and make plays. We have high hopes this season.”
Glenbard West started the season with a trip to Louisville last week and returned with a 3-2 mark.
After beating Letcher County 14-0 on March 31, the Hilltoppers upended Butler 1-0 on April 1 behind the pitching of Rudolph, who allowed five hits while tossing a complete-game shutout.
Luke Domask drove in the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning with one of his two hits on the day and Greeno also produced a pair of singles.
The squad then played three games on April 2, losing 2-0 to South Oldham and 5-4 in eight innings to Wheaton North while defeating Letcher County 5-3.
In the win, Alex Martenson, Spencer Refer, Trevor Hamilton and Teague Moriarty all had two hits. Moriarty also struck out five batters in three innings.
Nick Floyd was the hard-luck loser against South Oldham, yielding one earned run in six innings of work. Carlson, Simoneit and Alex Martenson all had two hits against Wheaton North.
“The trip was great,” Schultz said. “We got to play five games and the competition was really good down there.”
Glenbard West returns to the diamond today against Glenbard East, the team with which Schultz was an assistant coach a year ago.
“It should be fun,” Schultz said. “We [Schultz and Glenbard East head coach Joel Pelland] talk just about every day and we are excited to play each other.”