DOWNERS GROVE – Matt Muellner and his Hinsdale Central baseball teammates came out on the wrong end of a wild 18-17 game against Downers Grove North.
After jumping out to a 5-0 lead in the top of the first inning, losing on a walk-off wasn’t what the Red Devils had in mind, but the game did provide some valuable lessons.
“Just play team, mistake-free defensive baseball,” Muellner said. “We just have to pick up our pitchers when it’s not their day. We hit really well, which is a positive we can take from it.”
Instead of sulking about that defeat on April 11, the Red Devils did something about it. They came back the next day and topped the Trojans 16-6 in six innings. Both games included some wild happenings.
In the loss, the teams took nearly an hour to play the first inning. After Central took a 5-0 lead in the top of the first, North stormed back with 11 runs in the bottom of the frame. An error and three wild pitches led to four of North’s first-inning runs. Every spot in the order for both teams produced at least one run. Thirteen of the 18 batting positions for both teams were responsible for two or more runs each. Central had 15 hits in the game.
Two Central runs in the sixth tied the game at 17-17, but North won on a walk-off single in the seventh.
Players and coaches from both teams were left searching for a way to describe the game.
“This is probably one of the more wild ones I’ve been in,” Muellner said.
“This one was a game for the ages,” Central head coach Jason Ziemer said. “I’ve been around the game for a long time, and this game was crazy. I’ve never been part of a game like this where you’re up five, then your down six, then all of a sudden your tied, then you’re up two and now you lose in the last inning.”
Ziemer’s message to his team after the game was simple.
“You can’t let a game like this get to you,” the coach said. “That’s high school baseball. Stuff happens. As a high school baseball coach, you have to get them ready for next one and make sure this doesn’t effect the rest of the year.”
In the Red Devils’ win against the Trojans, they trailed 5-1 before plating 15 runs in the top of the sixth inning. The win upped their record to 4-6 overall and 3-2 in the West Suburban Silver.
Central was scheduled to finish the series against North on Wednesday.
The Red Devils welcome Glenbard West for a WSS doubleheader at 10 a.m. Saturday.