YORKVILLE – There hasn’t been much that’s fazed Simon Skroch this season on the mound.
Yorkville’s left-handed sophomore belied his youth once again in yet another big baseball game for the Foxes.
Skroch improved his record on the bump to a perfect 6-0 after pitching 4 1/3 innings, striking out eight and walking two to help lift his team to a 14-0, five-inning win over Minooka in the matchup of Southwest Prairie Conference West leaders Tuesday afternoon at Memorial Park.
“I just go out there and try to throw hard, and I got a few by them today,” Skroch said. “Still, I thought I struggled at times, but I kept a clear head, and my teammates did the rest to support me.”
Boy did they ever.
For the second day in a row, the Foxes (24-3, 9-2 SPC West) produced big time at the plate. After Monday’s 19-12 triumph at Minooka, Yorkville, the home squad in Game 2 of the three-game set, pounded out 18 hits to support Skroch. Seven players in Yorkville’s starting lineup registering two or more hits.
That made it easy for Skroch as he saw his mates tally two runs in the first inning and six each in the second and third innings to give the youthful lefty all that he could ever ask for and much more.
“It’s nice to see the bats start to come around the last couple of games and today we put the ball in play hard and took advantage of that,” Yorkville coach Tom Cerven said. “Simon did a great job and even though he was a little up with his fastball, when a pitcher has stuff like he has, he still looked very good against a rock solid baseball team.”
Minooka (19-8, 7-3) couldn’t get anything going against Skroch and now has lost four of its past five outings.
“It’s amazing how fast a season can change,” Minooka coach Jeff Petrovic said. “We had only a few losses going into last week and found ways to win. Now we’re unfortunately finding tough ways to lose. I’ve coached for 25 years here, and I’ve seen this happen before. But I’m hoping we can get hot again because as fast as a season can go bad, it can rebound and go just as good too. Credit to Yorkville, though, for really taking it to us yesterday and today.”
After Skroch walked a pair in the top of the first, he held the Indians harmless with two strikeouts.
Then the Yorkville offensive onslaught started in the bottom of the inning against Minooka starting and losing pitcher Frank Hummel.
Senior Matthew Bivens (two doubles) led off and got hit by a Hummel offering. One out later, senior Connor Corrigan (3 for 3, three RBIs) singled to right and pushed Bivens to third. Senior Owen Ross (3 for 3, five RBIs) followed with a run-scoring infield hit that scored Bivens before Corrigan scampered home on a double steal to put the Foxes up 2-0 after one inning.
They scored six more in the home half of the second off Hummel by sending 11 batters to the plate with run-scoring plate appearances from junior Gio Zeman (2 for 3, two RBIs) Bivens and Corrigan. Ross completed the up rising with a monster three-run homer to dead center field that put Yorkville ahead 8-0 after two innings. It was Ross’ fourth round-tripper of the season.
“With two strikes I was looking to keep the rally going,” Ross said. “I was in a little slump before today, so it was nice to come out of it.”
With Skroch sailing along, the Foxes added six more runs in the bottom of the third as Zeman led off against Minooka reliever Matt Medlin with a solo homer to left-center that pushed the ledger to 9-0.
“Before the game I was questioning my batting skills because I haven’t been playing much the last few weeks,” Zeman said. “I actually thought I’d popped out but it made it over the fence so I was pretty happy.”
Corrigan eventually followed with a two-run single, Ross an RBI base hit, sophomore Nate Harris (2 for 3) a run scoring double and senior pinch hitter Brody Ferko a sacrifice fly RBI as the Foxes went ahead 14-0 after three.
All that was left was for Skroch to strike out the side in the top of the fourth before junior reliever Kyle Stevens came on with one out in the fifth to close the door on a great day for Yorkville.