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Not operating at a loss

  • Written by Ken Karrson

Bulldogs bounce back from defeat to win twice

  Losing a game is much different than losing one’s bearings.
  But when winning has become commonplace, even a lone setback can have dire psychological consequences. Thus, after Richards absorbed just its second defeat over a span of 16 games last Monday, Bulldogs assistant coach Kevin Quinn had a message for the players.
  “He said, ‘Don’t lose two in a row this year,’” Richards boss Brian Wujcik said.
  And the Bulldogs proceeded to heed that advice. Not only did they gain revenge on South Suburban Conference Red rival Reavis by answering Monday’s 7-1 loss with an 8-4 victory for themselves, but the locals also went on to hammer Lincoln-Way East 12-3 on Thursday.
  “We are [still] playing with confidence,” Wujcik said. “The guys all understand we’re not Murderer’s Row, but we are efficient hitters and we can manufacture [good scoring] innings.”
  Ironically, that was the missing ingredient in the first matchup against the Rams. Reavis lefty Bibal Abuzir limited normally potent Richards to eight singles and an unearned run.
  The Bulldogs took advantage of a bad pickoff throw to set up their only score in the third inning. AJ Sanchez (RBI) and Eric Mallo wrapped singles around that Rams miscue.
  “We got beat by a guy who pitched a really good game,” Wujcik said. “We’ve been pretty accustomed to double-digit hits, and often double-digit runs, but nobody’s going to roll over for us.
  “There was a little bit of emotion lacking from our guys in this game. I know it’s clichéd, but you’ve got to come out and play hard every day.”
  Reavis broke the contest open by tallying five runs in its portion of the fourth, a rally that was helped along by a walk and hit batsman. Ryan Thompson got tagged with his first pitching loss after notching four consecutive wins.

Taking the extra steps

  • Written by Ken Karrson

Knights play past regulation three times

Working overtime benefited Chicago Christian only a little last week.
Three times in four outings the Knights were required to play foes beyond the seventh inning so a winner could be declared — and in one of those instances, the result was actually indecisive as Christian handed coach Eric Brauer the second tie of his career. The Knights fought host Manteno to a 3-3 draw on Thursday through eight stanzas before darkness intervened.
Since the contest was a nonconference one and would require a lengthy return trip to complete, Brauer is calling it a deadlock. And that proved a favorable outcome in comparison to last Monday’s Suburban Christian Conference Gold duel with Aurora Central Catholic.
The Chargers, who are chasing Chicago Christian in the divisional standings, unleashed a pair of Division I recruits on Knights batters. The two pitchers shut Christian out after the first inning, although the Knights still had a few chances to break through.
“It was never with nobody out, but we threatened in probably five innings, where we had somebody in scoring position — sometimes two people,” Brauer said. “We just couldn’t come up with a key hit.”

Leaving Ramblers a wreck

  • Written by Ken Karrson

Shutdowns of Loyola top Crusaders’ week

  The record shows that Brother Rice broke even last week.
  Convincing Loyola Academy players the Crusaders were only average might be a difficult task, however.
  For sure, the Ramblers saw Rice at its best, particularly last Wednesday, when it rode Mike Enriquez’s superb pitching to a slaughter-rule win in Wilmette. The Crusaders’ offense wasn’t too shabby, either, as it pounded out 10 hits, six of which — as well as seven combined RBI — were supplied by Andrew Dyke and Kevin Biondic. Behind that assault, Rice was able to pin a 10-0 defeat on Loyola.
  But an even bigger story was Enriquez’s mastery on the hill. The senior had a no-hitter through 4 2/3 innings before getting touched for a single, the Ramblers’ lone hit on the afternoon. Enriquez did walk three, but those mattered little as he also struck out six men and was backed by a flawless Crusaders defense.
  Rice coach John McCarthy appreciated Enriquez’s effort, particularly since it came on the heels of the Crusaders’ second Chicago Catholic League Blue loss to Mt. Carmel in a three-day span.
  “That was exactly what we needed to keep us in the Catholic League Blue hunt,” McCarthy said. “To do that, you’ve got to win games, and he put a stop to the losing streak. That was what we wanted from a senior pitcher.”

Making a bold statement

  • Written by Ken Karrson

Vikings knock off Class 4A champ Caravan twice

  When it came to a clash of champions, league trumped state last week.
  During the 2013 regular season, St. Laurence ruled over the Chicago Catholic League Blue. Among those schools the Vikings beat out for the crown was Mt. Carmel, which didn’t waste any time bemoaning its shortcoming.
  Instead, the Caravan consoled themselves with an even bigger prize: a Class 4A championship. But when Mt. Carmel and St. Laurence renewed acquaintances on Wednesday, the past no longer mattered.
  Only the here and now did, and the Vikings made it known they have every intention of successfully defending their league title. Having outscored Providence Catholic 25-4 in its first two CCL Blue outings, St. Laurence carried that momentum over into its encounters with the Caravan, who also fell to defeat twice.
  The Vikings’ 7-3 victory in the teams’ initial contest was satisfying enough for coach Pete Lotus. But when St. Laurence followed up with a 15-6 mauling of Mt. Carmel and its ace pitcher Marko Boricich on Saturday, Lotus was almost at a loss for words.

Bartosh

They want things to go swimmingly

  (Reprinted from Feb. 12, 2009)

  We’re in the midst of another get-healthy craze.
  At least that’s what I keep hearing. Apparently, though, the members of my doughnut-munching, burger-lunching, tortilla chip-crunching sportswriting posse have failed to hear the news. Speaking of the news, did you ever notice how the televised version of it never has any trouble finding overweight, out-of-shape folks to profile for stories on our unhealthy lifestyles?
  That tells me the get-healthy craze is failing miserably.
  Evidently a lot of people live by the slogan found on a T-shirt I own: I’m in shape — round is a shape. Would I like to be more fit? Of course, but I’d also like to be younger, richer and better looking, too, and those aren’t happening for me, either.