Manteno Heats Up Late To Take Down Evergeen Park

By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting Director

JOLIET, IL – Manteno’s bats heated up in the later innings, turning a close game into a 13-6 rout over Evergreen Park. The Panthers pounded out eleven hits and scored eleven runs in the final three innings to win in convincing fashion in the Class 3A Section Semifinals on Wednesday at Joliet Catholic.

The Panthers (23-14) got on the board quickly in the first and never trailed, taking advantage of four consecutive walks in the first inning to take a 2-0 lead.

Up 2-1 through four innings, Manteno senior right fielder Lucas Robbins began the hit parade in the top of the fifth with a towering homer to deep left field as the Panthers scored three runs in the inning, all with two outs. Center fielder Gavin Zimbelman capped the scoring with an RBI single to center field to give Manteno a 5-1 lead.

The Panthers added four more runs in the sixth, thanks to RBI singles by Kyle Mansfield, Zimbelman, and designated hitter Jack Morgan to increase the lead to 9-3.

Evergreen Park mounted a comeback in the bottom of the sixth, scoring three runs and cutting the Manteno lead to 9-6 on a two-run homer to left by senior shortstop Mark Martin. The St. Xavier signee led the Mustangs going 2-for-3 at the plate with a walk, a double, and three RBI.

Manteno put the game away in the top of the seventh with another four run rally. Sophomore shortstop Connor McCormick (2-for-3, two walks, three runs scored) delivered a two-run RBI double to left to push the Panther lead to 11-6. Robbins (2-for-3, two walks, three runs scored) followed with an RBI-triple to right centerfield, and Mansfield capped the scoring with a sacrifice fly to center field.

Sophomore left-handed pitcher Nick Crowe, making only his second varsity start, earned the win on the mound allowing three hits and three runs (two earned) in four innings to improve to 2-0 on the season. Senior Caleb Selk struck out three in his three innings of relief to earn the save for the Panthers.

Senior catcher Brock Crews also aided the offensive effort finishing 1-for-2 with a double, three walks, and two runs scored for Manteno.

Along with Martin, senior second baseman Sean Miller (Loras-signee) paced the Evergreen Park offense going 2-for-4 with an RBI double. The Mustangs aided Manteno’s offense with nine walks throughout the game (six of which ended up scoring), while also committing five errors.

Evergreen Park finishes the 2015 campaign at 18-12. Manteno will take on the winner of Lemont and Illiana Christian, who play on Thursday at 4:30 at Joliet Catholic. The Sectional Championship will be played on Saturday at 10 am at Joliet Catholic.

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