Baseball: Morris hits early and often in conference win over L-P

Morris will go for series sweep Thursday

Morris's Lorenzo Zdanwic slides safely into third base as the ball sails over his head away from the play on Wednesday, April 17, 2024 at Huby Sarver Field inside the L-P Athletic Complex in La Salle.

LA SALLE – The Morris baseball team has a high-powered offense.

Morris is averaging 8.9 runs per game, has scored double-digit runs in six of 16 games and scored 21 runs in one game this season.

The offense had another big day Wednesday.

All nine starters notched at least one of the team’s 14 hits in a 12-4 victory over La Salle-Peru in an Interstate 8 Conference game at Huby Sarver Field.

“We came early with the bats pretty hot,” Morris coach Todd Keim said. “I’m pretty happy with how we hit the ball all game long. Even with outs, we were making some hard outs.

“[Hitting well] is what we do most of the time. We were able to hit the ball up and down the lineup. When you can string them together like we did today and score runs in bunches a couple different innings, I like our changes. Our pitchers are going to do their job. I thought they did today. A little bit rocky for our starter Brett [Bounds] a few times, but give them credit. They’re fighting and clawing. That’s what I expect them to do.”

Morris jumped on the Cavaliers with four runs in the top of the first inning.

A.J. Zweeres and Bounds led off with back-to-back singles.

After an out, Cody DeFarero delivered an RBI single, and Griffin Zweeres lined a ball into left-center field that was mishandled, scoring two runs before Merek Klicker hit an RBI single.

Following a scoreless second, Morris started the third inning with six consecutive hits – leading Rock Radtke to come on in relief of starter Brendan Boudreau – and scored four more runs.

Morris pitcher Brett Bounds fires a pitch to L-P on Wednesday, April 17, 2024 at Huby Sarver Field inside the L-P Athletic Complex in La Salle.

“We knew we wanted to be aggressive,” Keim said. “Boudreau is a very experienced varsity pitcher. His command is usually very good. We like to think that works in our favor when we want to attack the strike zone. That’s what we did today.”

Morris continued to score as L-P brought in four pitchers, tacking on three runs in the fourth and one more in the seventh.

“It’s just kind of an attitude we have collectively,” Keim said. “You have to read the situation. If the situation calls for aggressiveness, you take advantage of it when you can. If that works out, you step it up even more. That’s part of the contagious hitting mentality that we like to have.”

The Cavs showed some life after falling behind 11-1 midway through the fourth inning.

Jack Jereb ripped a two-run single in the bottom of the fourth, and Jacob Gross belted a solo homer in the fifth.

“We have to be better,” L-P coach Matt Glupczynski said. “That’s it. We have to be better, especially playing a very good team like Morris. We have to have a better effort. A more spirited effort.

“I would have liked for us to start [to rally] a little earlier, but to have some fight there and to extend the game and not get 10-runned was a good sign. But we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard. We have to come out and have a better effort.”

Bounds earned the win for Morris (13-3, 4-1 I-8), as he allowed four runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and two walks in five innings. Klicker pitched two perfect innings to finish the game, striking out four batters.

Morris will go for the series sweep Thursday when L-P (7-11, 0-5) travels to Morris.

L-P's Brandon Foreman fires to first after forcing out Morris's Anthony Xydakis on Wednesday, April 17, 2024 at Huby Sarver Field inside the L-P Athletic Complex in La Salle.
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