No. 19 Prairie Ridge rallies to season-opening win over Fremd


By Andy Sroka
Staff Writer

WHEELING, Ill. – Neither No. 19-ranked Prairie Ridge nor Fremd had a home field capable of hosting a baseball game this evening, but nonetheless, baseball was played, only both teams had to travel to the turfed Heritage Park facilities to get the game in. The Wolves played their “home” opener tonight in a 5-1 winning effort over the Vikings, who opened their spring season last evening.

Fremd fought hard in back-to-back nights but were narrowly defeated by late comebacks in consecutive evenings – PR tonight and South Elgin on Tuesday.

Vikings ace Victor Fujiu took the mound against Prairie Ridge today, rather than his team’s season opener as he battled an illness. As he cruised through the first four frames, you wouldn’t know that he was anything other than zeroed in – because he was. The Parkland College commit allowed just a solitary hit through four innings, an infield single off the bat of Luke Fiantago, and faced the minimum otherwise.

In the fifth frame, it’s possible his time off the field recovering from illness caught up with him. He started the inning recording his sixth punch-out of the game, to Fiantago, but the slider off the plate got away from Fiuju’s battery mate, allowing for the Prairie Ridge sparkplug to get to first with no outs. He was immediately moved to second on a successful sacrifice bunt and he came around to tie the game at one in the next at-bat, on a long Michael Patterson double over the left fielder’s head. Jacob Reichert backed up Patterson with a sliced line-drive down the right field line that slipped into the corner, allowing Patterson to score with ease and Reichert to coast into third.

Fujiu’s second walk to of the game ended his outing, all of a sudden on the losing side of a 3-1 scoreline.

Three Ridge pitchers combined to limit four hits on a chilly night. Two-way star Dominic Listi, the prospect we labeled as the Wolves’ X-Factor this spring, was tabbed as tonight’s starter. He weaved through a handful of walks and singles in his three-plus innings of work, and was picked up a couple of times by the infield defense behind him.

Fremd scored its only run in the top of the fifth after a lead-off walk came around to score on an RBI single lined to shallow center off the bat of Nick Rattin. But with runners on first and third, already down a run at the time with the Vikings heart of the order up, Wolves senior righty Connor Devitt earned a run-preventing groundout and a strikeout looking to end the inning.

After PR’s fifth-inning rally, the Wolves added another pair of runs in the sixth on a launched triple to left field off the bat of Fiantago, who then scored on a perfectly executed suicide squeeze by Jared Lindquist.

Up 5-1, head coach Glen Pecoraro called on junior Holden Phelps to get adjusted to the varsity level with his flamethrower profile. Phelps pitched over a single and a walk with the help of his low-90s fastball and struck out the side to secure his team’s first win of the spring in their 2019 opener.

TOP PERFORMERS

+ RHP Victor Fujiu (Fremd): 4.2 IP, 3 R, 3 H, 6 K, 2 BB
+ LHP/OF Dominic Listi (Prairie Ride): 3.2 IP, 0 R, 2H, 3 BB, 5 K
+ 3B Luke Fiantago (Prairie Ridge): 2-for-3, 3B, 2 R, RBI
+ SS Michael Patterson (Prairie Ridge): 2-for-3, 2B, 1 R, 2 RBI
+ C Will Josten (Fremd): 3-for-3

Keep an eye out in the next couple of days when we publish our first IHSA Scout Blog of the 2019 season, featuring a handful of names in the game story above.

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