Baseball: Sycamore erases 3-run deficit to finish sweep of Ottawa

Matt Rosado goes 3 for 3, Evan Munch pitches three near-perfect innings and Collin Severson makes huge grab in center to spark comeback

Sycamore's Evan Munch delivers a pitch in a relief appearance during their game against Ottawa Friday, April 19, 2024, at the Sycamore Community Sports Complex.

SYCAMORE – When a baseball team is putting up runs like Sycamore has been this year, falling behind doesn’t exactly spark a panicked response.

Ottawa jumped ahead by three runs on the Spartans in an Interstate 8 Conference matchup Friday, but they put up nine in the bottom of the second and went on to a 13-3, five-inning victory to sweep the series and stay perfect on the season.

“That first inning didn’t affect us at all,” said Matt Rosado, who had an RBI double and scored in the key inning for the Spartans (13-0, 6-0 I-8). “They got up 3-0 and we just came back and stayed on top. We never lost our passion to keep attacking the ball. We keep putting the ball in play and they find holes.”

Not only did the Spartans find the holes in the defense of Ottawa (7-11, 1-5), but they found their way over the fence as well. Sycamore capped the scoring in the second with a two-run home run by Kyle Prebil, followed by a Davis Collie solo shot. Both went over the elevated fence in dead center field.

In the top of the third, the Pirates seemed to be getting back into the game. They loaded the bases on an error and two walks. The last walk was the sixth the team had drawn off Sycamore starter Teague Hallahan, which got his pitch count up to 81 and chased him from the game.

Reliever Evan Munch got a strikeout, and Garret Shymaski launched a rocket into the left-center gap. Center fielder Collin Severson tracked it down, twisted his body while leaping to snag the ball over his head, then got it back into the infield to double Packston Miller off second to end the threat.

“No high school kid makes that catch,” Sycamore coach Jason Cavanaugh said. “I don’t know how he made that catch. Their runner was right thinking there’s no way that ball’s going to be caught. He’s going to take off and go. And he made a great play out there.”

Sycamore's Collin Severson robs an Ottawa hitter of an extra base hit with a leaping grab during their game Friday, April 19, 2024, at the Sycamore Community Sports Complex.

Ottawa coach Tyler Nargo said it was just a bad break that went against the Pirates.

“We hit a ball in the gap and if that’s down, we probably have five or six on the board,” Nargo said. “That’s just a heck of a play. You’ve got to tip your cap to that. It wasn’t great base running, but also I was screaming ‘go,’ too. It was just an unfortunate circumstance for us. When you’re not playing great, you don’t get those breaks. When you’re playing good, you get those breaks. That’s just how it goes.”

With Hallahan struggling to find the plate, Nargo said the Pirates didn’t take advantage enough in the early going. Ottawa drew four walks in the second, but only Shymanski had a hit. They loaded the bases with one out, but Hallahan struck out No. 2 hitter Cam Loomis and got Adam Swanson to fly out to right.

Nargo said his team could have done more in those first two innings.

“We kind of took advantage of their pitcher not throwing a lot of strikes,” Nargo said. “But obviously against a good hitting team like Sycamore you’ve got to make sure you tack on and we didn’t do that. We got three early, and we have to make sure we tack on in all those situations against a good team, especially with the way the weather is today and the wind blowing out.”

Ottawa had only two hits, both off Hallahan. Jace Veith had a double and scored in the first inning. Munch’s only blemish was a walk to Veith while he struck out four in three innings.

“I think the biggest part of it was Evan Munch coming into the game and just giving us a huge lift,” Cavanaugh said. “Teague struggled with his command from the start of the game, then we bring Evan in, and all he does is come in and throw three shutout innings and 32 pitches. That was the lift we needed at that time.”

Prebil collected the final of Sycamore’s 12 hits, singling to right field in the bottom of the fifth to score Severson and enact the 10-run rule. Prebil finished with two hits, two runs and three RBIs. Collie was 3 for 3, missing a triple for the cycle. He scored twice and drove in two runs. Tyler Townsend had two hits, two runs and an RBI, while Nate Lojko had two hits, three runs and an RBI. Rosado finished 3 for 3 with two RBIs and a run.

“You get the merry-go-round going and it’s hard to stop us,” Cavanaugh said after Sycamore reached double-digit runs for the sixth time in its last eight games. “Our guys do a really good job of not leaving the strike zone. I think that frustrated pitchers a lot of times when they’re not getting the chase swings and misses.”

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