Minooka's Brad Van Asdlen leads Indians over No. 13 Plainfield North 2-1

By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting Director

MINOOKA – Outfielders playing 200 feet from home plate, players chasing their hats around the field, timeouts due to the infield dirt blowing into hitter’s eyes, and fly balls looking like they were meant to have a string attached to them as they danced in the air like a kite: all signs of springtime baseball weather in Illinois. A wind advisory with gales up to 30 mph was in full effect on Friday afternoon at Minooka High School, but it didn’t deter the Indians from a 2-1 victory over conference rival No. 13 Plainfield North behind a complete game seven-hit, one-run performance by junior righthander Brad Van Asdlen.

Van Asdlen and Plainfield North senior righthander Matt Vanek (St. Xavier signee) were locked in a pitcher’s duel throughout, with the North getting on the board first in the top of the fourth. Van Asdlen walked the leadoff hitter of the inning, Richard Bryza, who was subsequently sacrificed to second by senior centerfielder Kyle Strepek. Senior left fielder Matthew Babuskow singled hard up the middle between short and second putting runners on first and second with one out. Bryza scored on junior first baseman Joshua Heckman’s hard groundout to Minooka freshman shortstop Hayden Laczynski, who impressed defensively throughout. Van Asdlen avoided any further damage inducing an infield fly out to third for the last out.

The Indians weren’t down for long, as they mounted a rally in the bottom of the fourth loading the bases with one out thanks to two infield errors sandwiched around a walk. A heads up play by Vanek and Heckman on a called pickoff attempt at third base resulted in the second out and nearly put a halt to the Indians scoring chances. Junior third baseman Nick Petrak singled hard up the middle to load the bases once again, setting the stage for junior second baseman Brandon Rossiter’s two-run double down the right field line. Petrak was thrown out at the plate attempting to score from first, but not before the Indians had taken the 2-1 lead.

The two runs were all Van Asdlen would need, as the 6-foot-3 lanky righty cruised the rest of the way, recording 15 groundball outs with a heavy 80-82 mph sinker. The ground balls were especially key on a day where every flyball was an adventure. He walked two and struck out two in his complete game effort.  

Minooka coach Jeff Petroivc added on Van Asdlen’s effort, “What a great outing on a tough day to pitch. Brad pounded the zone all game long and we played solid defense behind him. He’s a gutsy kid, who’s kept improving; we honestly didn’t think he’d be this good this early and he’s given us a chance every time out as we’ve been fighting through some adversity with injuries.”

Senior leftfielder Tyler Paulsen (Illinois State) and senior catcher Cole Thompson (Aurora) added the only other hits for the Indians, as Vanek was equally impressive in his complete game for Plainfield North, striking out three and walking one in an efficient 63 pitches (40 thrown for strikes).

Babuskow, a top notch student attending Notre Dame next year, St. Louis-commit Josh Garner, and NIU-commit Jake Dunham each tallied two hits for the Tigers.

The Indians improve to 3-7 with the victory, salvaging one game in the three game series with the Tigers. Plainfield North won the previous Suburban Prairie Conference games on Tuesday and Wednesday 6-2 and 6-5. Plainfield North drops to 6-3 (2-1 in SPC play).

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