Andrew upends No. 2 Lincoln-Way North

By Ryan Quigley
Area Scout

FRANKFORT, IL – Sometimes a struggling team just needs a shot in the arm: one big win, a player returning from injury, or a standout individual performance.  Thanks to senior second basemen Jeff Szubert and the arm/bat combination of junior pitcher Tom Bushnell, Andrew received all three in upsetting No. 2 Lincoln-Way North, 6-3 on Tuesday night in Southwest Suburban Conference play.

Andrew (8-14) had been struggling as of late without the services of the as of yet unsigned Szubert, who had missed the previous two-and-a-half weeks with an injury.  The senior leader and three-hole hitter made his presence known immediately with a 3-for-4, two RBI day.

Andrew jumped on Lincoln-Way North starter Liam Jenkins early with three runs in the first two frames, two of which were unearned.  That proved to be the story of the day for the Phoenix (15-2), whose defensive miscues led to four errors and five unearned runs on the day.  An RBI sac fly by Bushnell, followed by an RBI single by Szubert gave the Thunderbolts a 3-1 advantage after two innings of play.

Lincoln-Way North’s David Calderon came on in relief of Jenkins and kept the Phoenix in the game, while showcasing his electric fastball/curveball combination.  Calderon threw five innings of four-hit relief, striking out nine, and walking one.  All three of Calderon’s runs were unearned, two coming on a dropped fly ball drifting deep into left field in the fourth frame.  Andrew tacked on one insurance run in sixth, thanks to another Szubert RBI single, after a Phoenix throwing error had extended the inning.

While Calderon was dealing with heat for the Phoenix, Bushnell kept North’s hitters at bay with a steady diet of off speed stuff and a well located fastball down in the zone.  The 6-foot-2, 175-pound junior righty worked ahead in the count all day, scattering eight hits, striking out five, while walking only one in the complete game effort.  Only two of his three runs allowed were earned.  

Bushnell also went 3-for-3 at the plate with a double, an RBI, and two runs scored.  All told, the Bushnell/Szubert combination hitting 2nd and 3rd for the Thunderbolts accounted for six of Andrew’s seven hits.  Junior catcher Ramon Padilla added an RBI single, while Ramon Gonzalez scored two runs.

For the Phoneix offensively, senior right fielder Erik Eggert (Saint Xavier commit) finished 2-for-4 on the day with two doubles and an RBI.  Senior catcher Conor Grove (Prairie State commit) was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI, and sophomore shortstop Ben Troike added two singles.