Close calls sting Wildcats

West Chicago falls in one-run games against Neuqua Valley

WEST CHICAGO – Close games have become the norm for the West Chicago baseball team for the second consecutive year.

On Saturday, the Wildcats dropped a hard-fought Upstate Eight Conference doubleheader against Neuqua Valley by a combined two runs.

The squad lost 3-2 in nine innings in Game 1 despite a nine-strikeout performance by starting pitching Dave Kordik in eight innings of work. Jon Michiels had a hit and RBI and Connor Dall added a run and a hit.

West Chicago fell by a 4-3 margin in the second game after Neuqua Valley came from behind and plated three runs in the seventh inning.

Austin Kordik had two hits and two runs scored and Peyton Seidler threw a complete game, allowing seven hits while striking out three. Dall, Dave Kordik and John Sturm drove in the runs.

“We received two outstanding pitching performances,” West Chicago coach Dan McCarthy said. “Dave Kordik pitched exceptionally well, he really kept their bats at bay. And Peyton was extremely effective going into the seventh inning before he had some control issues.”

The defeats dropped the team’s record to one game under the .500 mark at 8-9, though six of those losses have come by three runs or less.

“Our goal is to get better each game, and I think we got better on Saturday,” McCarthy said. “We’ve just got to find ways to finish games. We are still a good baseball team and I have a lot of confidence in them.

“We’ve lost our share of one- and two-run games, but that’s baseball. A lot of times it comes down to one or two plays.”

The Wildcats had closed out their league series against Bartlett with a 12-10 loss April 24 despite scoring seven runs in the fifth inning. Dall went 4-for-5 with a double and RBI, Ryan Koester was 2-for-5 with a double, two runs scored and two RBIs, and Dave Kordik contributed two hits and an RBI.

West Chicago earlier took two games from the Hawks, winning 6-5 on April 23 and 5-0 a day earlier.

In the one-run victory, Jon Michiels had a double and drove in four runs and Grant Hosticka was the winning pitcher after working 42/3 innings on the mound.

On April 22, Fred Gosbeth and Antonio Solis combined for the shutout, allowing just two hits, and Koester and Dall each drove in runs.