Prep Baseball Report

Minooka Outlasts No. 13 Plainfield South

By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

MINOOKA, IL - In a game that featured eight home runs - six by the losing team - aided by consistent 45-50 mph winds blowing straight out, not to mention Southwest Prairie Conference championship implications on the line, host Minooka outlasted No. 13 Plainfield South and ace Austin Marozas, 12-9, Wednesday afternoon.

With the win, Minooka (21-10, 13-4) moved into a first-place tie with Plainfield South (22-8-1, 13-4) with one game remaining in conference play. The two teams will play again Thursday at Plainfield South to decide the Southwest Prairie champion.

The playing conditions were far from ideal, especially for the pitchers. Plainfield South leadoff man Jordan Mikel proved that the first batter of the game when he lofted a ball into the fierce jet stream for a home run, the first of two long balls for Mikel in the game.

Although Minooka was out-homered by a large margin, the Indians’ offense punched in bunches and delivered in opportune times. Senior 1B Logan O’Brien keyed Minooka’s big five-run second inning with a three-run homer. Marozas had fed O’Brien three straight upper-70 sliders, but the last one flattened out and was deposited over the right-center fence. O’Brien later hammered a solo shot to lead off the sixth inning to finish with four RBI.

Minooka extended its lead to 10-3 in the third by pushing three more runs across thanks to junior SS Hayden Laczynski’s bases-clearing double. Laczynski, an uncommitted 6-foot, 175-pound left-handed hitter, opened the game by lining a 90-mph Marozas fastball up the middle, and later scored. He finished 2-for-4 with five RBI and two runs scored while playing a spotless shortstop that included turning two 6-4-3 double plays.

Senior catcher Nick Airola went 3-for-4 with a run and senior OF Jon Butler added a double, two runs scored and an RBI for Minooka. Senior RHP Jackson Shepherd pitched 6.1 innings, allowing eight hits, five runs while striking out five and walking two. After Shepherd left the game with one out in the seventh was when Plainfield South made the game interesting.

Plainfield South welcomed the Minooka relief pitcher with a pair of two-run homers by Konnor Ash and Trey Stewart to make it 12-9. And the Cougars loaded up the bases before the final out was recorded.

Plainfield South’s offense was led by Stewart, a junior 3B who went 3-for-4 with two homers, a double and four RBI. Mikel also hit a pair of bombs and Antonio Guitierrez homered. Marozas, a 6-foot-7, 240-pound Kentucky recruit, wasn’t helped by his defense or the wind. He pitched four innings, yielding nine hits, 10 runs, only three which were earned, with six strikeouts and one walk. His fastball sat in the 89-91 range in the first two innings.

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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