South Elgin’s Drew Piaskowy understood the importance of Thursday’s game against Glenbard East.
As the top two teams in the Upstate Eight Conference, the Storm and Rams had the first game of a regular season-ending three-game series postponed on Wednesday. That pushed back the pitching order, putting Piaskowy as the starter for the first game at Glenbard East on Thursday.
“What I originally wanted to do was see them first (on Wednesday), and basically learn off that,” Piaskowy said. “Then, in the second game, we would maybe get a win and build off that, but I’ll take a win in the first game.”
And he did get a win.
The right-hander scattered five hits and struck out seven in tossing a complete-game effort, leading the Storm to a 9-3 win over Glenbard East.
Piaskowy (7-0) allowed three runs in the final two innings, as the Rams (21-7, 20-2) strung together some soft hits to avoid the shutout and build momentum for the final two games of the series. Piaskowy said he became slightly frustrated late in the game, but he was aided by four double plays to lead South Elgin (23-3, 21-2) to its 11th consecutive win.
“I was getting little heated at the end,” Piaskowy said. “I just kept doing it, and they were getting little hits in the infield, which was very infuriating. I felt pretty good through the entire game, just pounding fastballs and trying to get my curveball but it was on and off.
“Those double plays were a big help. I was just trying to hit spots, and get those shallow hits for double plays. I kept on trying to pound fastballs, seeing what they would hit and work off that. It’s definitely a momentum builder to win this game.”
Senior Ben Karpowicz led the hitting attack with 2 hits and 3 runs, while Owen Cutinello added 2 hits and an RBI. Josh Genz had 2 RBI and Alex Tinio managed a hit and 2 RBI. The Storm led 9-0 but were unable to tack on another run in the final two innings. Tinio drilled a two-run single on a 3-2 count to highlight a 4-run fourth inning.
“This was a big game for us,” Karpowicz said. “To take the first game of the series and get a nice win is good. Drew pitched well and was more free with the lead and he was able to keep them off-balanced. We have a good group of guys, with 16 seniors and played together for awhile.”
South Elgin coach Jim Kating his players were ready for the series, which concludes with the final two games at his home field.
“It was a good battle, but we were able to score a few runs and get on top,” Kating said. “But they’re a good team and they started coming back in the last inning when we made some mistakes. We have to get back on track regarding that, but Drew pitched a good game and the kids played very well.”
The Rams gained some confidence by scoring 3 runs in the bottom of the seventh, highlighted by a 2-run double by Joe Wolsztyniak.
“They fought their tails off and did not give up, especially early,” Glenbard East coach Clayton George said. “We need to build off that. We didn’t play our game, and were trying to hit the long ball early in the game. We started making adjustments and put the ball in play, and when you do that, anything can happen. We have to let this one go, and learn from this.”