Prep Baseball Report

No. 15 Downers Grove South Survives Pitcher's Duel With Yorkville

By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting Director

HINSDALE, IL – Downers Grove South’s Zack Jones and Yorkville’s Cameron Van Boekel were locked in a pitcher’s duel on Saturday for two innings. After the game was suspended due to rain, fast forward to today…Zack Jones and Cameron Van Boekel were locked in a pitcher’s duel. Both juniors returned to start the game in the top of the third, with Jones earning the win for the No. 15 Mustangs 1-0 with six strong shutout innings in Monday’s Hinsdale South Regional Final.

When play resumed today, both teams had their nine hitter at the plate, with the score deadlocked at 0-0. In a shortened five inning baseball game, with two good arms on the mound, it was evident right away runs would be at a premium.

“This was a tough one because we didn’t want our guys looking ahead knowing that Downers Grove North is waiting for us (South’s next opponent in the sectional semis on Wednesday)”, said Downers South coach Darren Orel. “This one came down to the mound and Zack had a dynamite outing.”

The Mustangs (29-5) broke through in the fourth with the red-hot Danny Oriente leading off the inning with a line drive single up the middle past the second baseman. Oriente, ranked No. 15 in Illinois’ 2016 class, entered the game hitting .570 on the year, with 59 hits and only three strike outs all season.

Oriente stole second base on the second pitch, then advanced to third on senior third baseman Ryan Taylor’s groundout up the middle to short. Five-hole hitter Zack Radde drove Van Boekel’s offering to deep center field for a sacrifice fly for the game’s only run, with the Mustangs manufacturing it on only one hit.

The 6-foot-4 righthander Van Boekel impressed throughout his complete game outing, as the tough luck loser used a cutter and curveball combination to keep Downers Grove South off balance, holding the Mustangs to only three hits, with five strikeouts and no walks.

As good as Van Boekel was, the left-handed Jones matched him, throwing six innings of five hit baseball, walking only one, and striking out five. Both teams played errorless baseball, and several nice defensive plays were made on both sides.

Yorkville finally threatened in the sixth off Jones, when senior Xavier-bound shortstop Sam Flamini (2-for-3) ripped a line drive single to center with sophomore Lucas Farren on second base. Farren had singled earlier in the inning, and with Flamini’s ball hit hard to the outfield, Farren held at third base, giving the Foxes runners at the corners with one out. Jones wiggled out of the jam inducing a pop up to first base and a groundout to shortstop to end the threat.

Feeling that Jones was running out of gas pitching on two days’ rest, Orel turned to senior ace righthander Peter Hamot for the game’s final three outs. Yorkville would not go quietly however, as freshman third baseman John Jungr started the rally with a single past a diving Robert Justus at second base. A failed sacrifice bunt attempt resulted in the first out of the inning, but Hamot hit junior designated hitter Will Ferguson put runners on first and second.

Jungr advanced to third on the second out of the inning, a fielder’s choice force out to second base on a grounder by nine-hole hitter Tanner Rosati. With the tying run on third, and the winning run on first, Yorkville’s leadoff hitter Lucas Farren stepped to the plate. Farren hit an 87 mph fastball from Hamot back up the box that the Lewis-bound right-hander tipped with his glove hand, bouncing directly to his second baseman Justus, who flipped to shortstop Joe Engel (Columbia signee) for Downers Grove South’s third straight regional championship. Had Hamot not gotten a piece of the ball, Farren may have singled and extended the contest.

Orel added, “This is our third straight regional, and guys like Engel, Taylor, Hamot, and Oriente have been part of all of them. They’ve helped change the culture from a ‘me’ mentality to a ‘we’ mentality. Again that game came down to the mound, and hats off to them and their pitcher as well, Yorkville has 25 wins for a reason.”

Yorkville finishes the 2015 campaign 25-12. Downers Grove South meets crosstown rival Downers Grove North on Wednesday at 4 pm at Romeoville High School in the IHSA Sections Semi Finals.  

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