OSWEGO – Camden Ruby received a scare last week when he ran into the center field fence at Oswego East and tweaked his back.
It clearly has not affected his swing.
Ruby returned to the lineup after seeing a chiropractor and missing one game, and slugged two homers Saturday. The Wolves’ senior outfielder maintained a hot bat Monday. He went 4-for-5 with a homer and seven runs batted in, and Oswego East snapped a five-game losing streak with a seesaw 15-8 win over Yorkville in the Southwest Prairie West.
“I laid off my back a little bit, and being back helps. I feel pretty good now,” said Ruby, a Maryville recruit. “We’ve been putting up runs pretty consistently. Everybody one through nine can hit, put up a lot of runs.”
Indeed, Oswego East (2-5, 1-3) can’t complain about its offensive production so far. The Wolves scored a combined 44 runs in four losses last week, and backed it up Monday. After Yorkville erased a 6-1 Wolves’ lead with a five-run fourth inning to tie it 6-6, Oswego East scored the next nine runs.
Jonas Gulbrandsen went 4-for-5, scored four runs and drove in two, with the go-ahead single in the fourth to make it 7-6. Devon Zielke doubled twice, walked and scored three runs.
Ruby, batting cleanup, singled in a run in the first inning, had a line-drive single in the second off the shortstop’s glove to score two runs to make it 6-1, and followed Gulbrandsen’s RBI single in the fourth by launching a two-run shot to make it 9-6. An RBI groundout and single in the sixth for Oswego East’s last run followed.
On a team with two future Division I pitchers in Vanderbilt recruit Noah Schultz and Wichita State commit Ashton Izzi, who both threw Monday, Oswego East clearly has more than arms.
“The offense kind of took that with a chip on their shoulder,” Wolves coach Matt Engelhardt said. “They knew the guys at the top of the rotation are going to get talked about a lot and they took it to heart that they are going to contribute too. They have done that so far. Cam, we knew he would produce for us, we could put him anywhere. His pop has been nice.”
Yorkville (9-3, 2-2), likewise, has shown itself to be a team that can pile up the runs, and did so again Monday.
Cole Yearsley homered to lead off the game against Schultz, and Kyle Mack, 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored, added a two-run shot in the seventh.
The Foxes batted around against Schultz in a five-run fourth to tie it, aided by three Oswego East errors. Gavin Dobbels reached on a two-out dropped ball in right field that brought in two runs to tie it 6-6.
The teams each committed four errors.
“I was really pleased after we made several errors and gave them a five-run lead that we came back and made a game of it in that inning,” Yorkville coach Scott Luken said. “Obviously we gave it right back but I give my guys credit. We did not play our best and we battled back to make a game of it, and then it got away from us.”
Schultz struck out seven over four innings, and Izzi slammed the door shut in relief. The hard-throwing righty came on after Oswego East scored three runs in the fourth to take a 9-6 lead and struck out six over 2.1 shutout innings.
“I just knew coming into the game with the lead I had to go in there and do my job,” Izzi said. “I throw fastball, slider, changeup. I like my slider as a strikeout pitch and pump the zone with fastballs.”
Engelhardt said the plan in the early going this season is to piggy-back his two junior pitchers until they can build up their innings.
“We know we’re going to get quality with Ashton and we knew he’s going to throw strikes; the plan is to work them together early in the season,” Engelhardt said. “We expected him to compete. Noah, he kept his composure today. There were a couple tough plays behind him, got rattled on a double play balls but Noah picked us up.”