BERWYN – It’s amazing what one win can do for confidence.
Morton defeated Hinsdale South on April 22 in a game that was rescheduled from an April 14 rainout. After beating the two-time defending West Suburban Gold champs, Morton took care of business as expected against Proviso East in Saturday’s doubleheader.
Luis Rivera struck out 10 against the Hornets. The Mustangs closed out the weekend at 9-8 overall and 6-2 in the Gold. The wins against Proviso East made it five straight for Morton dating back to the victory against Hinsdale South.
“That gave us a little boost of confidence and gave us a chance in conference, too, so I’m really happy to be a part of that,” senior Anthony Iniquez said of beating Hinsdale South.
The Hornets lost just four games in the Gold the past two years combined.
“We played all three games tough with them,” Morton coach Mike Casey said of the Hinsdale South series. “We just didn’t hit in the two games. Luis threw well.”
Rivera has been a part of the quality pitching rotation for Morton. Iniquez and fellow senior Sergio Villalobos have kept the Mustangs in every conference game. Through eight conference games, the Mustangs have surrendered just 14 runs and haven’t allowed more than three in a game yet.
The trio’s success has led to a bit of internal competition to see who can one-up the others.
“We’re all competing against each other,” Iniquez said. “We’re facing other teams, but us three, we’re all competition against each other, too, to see who gets the No. 1 spot and who has the better ERA. It helps us throw better.”
Iniquez said he has some college offers from local Division III schools and junior colleges but still is weighing his options. He has been arguably Morton’s best hitter in an inconsistent lineup.
He blasted his second home run April 21 of the season against Proviso West, a game that finished Thursday as a 5-1 Mustang victory.
“He’s swinging well and he’s tough on the mound, too,” Casey said. “Our three guys are carrying us on the mound. That’s why we’re so competitive right now.”
Morton travels to Hinsdale Central on Thursday and returns to conference play beginning Friday at Addison Trail. The Mustangs’ final two Gold series are against Downers Grove South and Willowbrook. Both teams appear to be contenders in the league, although Downers Grove South swept the Warriors when those two met.
“They know there’s still hope in the conference,” Casey said. “I think Downers South is still the team to beat and Willowbrook is still good, too. We play them our last two series, and that’s what we’re gearing toward.”
Morton 14, Reavis 10 (April 25) • Sergio Villalobos: 4-for-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI • Mike Kadela: 3-for-4, 4 RBI
Morton 11, Proviso East 1 (April 26) • Anthony Iniquez: W, 8 K • Kadela: 4-for-4 • Gabriel Orozco: 3-for-3, 3 RBI
Morton 15, Proviso East 0 (April 26) • Villalobos: W, 6 K; 4-for-4, 2 RBI • Iniquez: 2-for-2, 3B, 2 RBI