Written by Ken Karson
Spartans’ bats cool in opening week
Winter is officially over, but Oak Lawn’s bats remained in hibernation during opening week of the 2014 baseball season.
The weather was partly to blame for the Spartans’ quiet offense, but also contributing was some stout pitching by their two foes. Both St. Rita and Lincoln-Way Central boasted live arms, the former calling on three different ones to stymie Oak Lawn last Wednesday at the Ray Kroc Center in Chicago.
The Spartans were limited to Joe Dodaro’s fifth-inning single hit-wise, and he immediately got erased in a double play. Oak Lawn batters also fanned 12 times — seven of them coming on called third strikes — in what ultimately became a 5-0 victory for the Mustangs.
On Saturday at Chicago State University, the Spartans didn’t fare a whole lot better as they were held in check by Knights hurler Brandon Bass, who was pitching before seven radar gun-toting scouts. They clocked Bass’ fastball at between 91 and 94 miles per hour, and only three Oak Lawn hitters were able to solve him to any measurable degree.
Three of the Spartans’ four hits were registered in the sixth inning, but a pickoff play and twin killing snuffed out the budding rally and ensured that Oak Lawn would be the victim of a second consecutive whitewash. Lincoln-Way Central triumphed 10-0, as the game ended when the Knights created a double-digit edge with one more run in their portion of the sixth.
Like every other squad that hasn’t ventured beyond Illinois’ borders, the Spartans’ time spent outdoors has been severely limited because of poor weather. They did practice on Oak Lawn’s artificial-turf football field, but they “couldn’t take BP or see live pitching a whole lot,” according to coach Bill Gerny.