Minooka Erupts In Seventh, Upends Sandburg

By Sean Duncan

Executive Director

MINOOKA, IL - The outlook didn’t look promising for Minooka. Trailing two runs against undefeated Sandburg heading into the seventh, the Indians erupted for nine runs to pull away with 13-6 victory Saturday in a nonconference matchup of perennial state powers.

Minooka’s fortunes changed dramatically after Sandburg (4-1) junior ace Evan Tenuta left the game with two outs in the sixth inning. In the seventh, the Indians (6-2) sent 14 batters to the plate. Four hits, four walks, one hit batsman, one dropped third strikeout and one error later, Minooka - which was the visiting team despite playing at home - broke what was once a quick, well-played game wide open.

Hayden LaczynskiJunior SS Hayden Laczynski (pictured right) reached base on what seemed like an innocuous error to lead off the seventh inning. After recording an out, the wheels on Sandburg’s bus began to wobble. Two walks loaded the bases before junior Cherokee Lebeau laced a two-run single to left field to tie the game. Sandburg reliever Scott Stemmons came in and got the second out of the inning, and then struck out the next batter, but Grant Olsen reached on a dropped third strike to once again load the bases.

Then the floodgates broke.

2B Antonio Milazzo poked a two-run single up the middle, Laczynski dropped in an opposite-field RBI single and senior 1B Logan O’Brien delivered a two-run double to left field to put the finishing touches on the outburst.

O’Brien went 2-for-3 with two walks, three runs and two RBI to lead Minooka. Laczynski, the team’s athletic left-handed hitting leadoff man, reached base four times, scored three runs and had two hits. Laczynski led off the game by ripping a double to right-center off a Tenuta 86-mph fastball to help the Indians to a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning.

Sandburg tied the game at 2-2 in the second inning on senior RF Jake Connolly’s two-run homer to right-center. The Eagles pushed three runs across in the fifth, highlighted by Tenuta’s two-run double to centerfield.

Tenuta, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound Notre Dame recruit, turned in a solid effort on the mound. In 5.2 innings, he struck out seven, walked three, hit one batter, yielded four hits and four runs, two of which were earned. He pitched at 86-88 mph for the majority of his outing and consistently threw his 76-78 slider for strikes.

Junior SS Branden Comia, an Illinois recruit, went 2-for-4 with a double down the third-base line, scored a run and played stellar defense that included an unassisted double play and a running over-the-head catch in shallow left field. Junior 1B Seth Masters and Connolly each had two hits as well for the Eagles.

Minooka, which will play 10 games in the next eight games, threw four pitchers at Sandburg, with Jackson Shepherd earning the two-inning victory in relief.

For more in-depth notes from the game - and all other games that we cover - visit the Illinois Scout Blog later.

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