Suwinski Leads Taft Past Ridgewood



By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

Jack SuwinskiNORRIDGE, IL – After losing in the Chicago Public League championship game last year, Taft has quietly put together another surprisingly strong campaign. Thanks to the all-around play of junior OF/LHP Jack Suwinski, the Eagles improved to 23-1 after their 5-3 nonconference victory over host Ridgewood on Saturday afternoon.

The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Suwinski, who’s the top uncommitted prospect in Illinois’ 2016 class, once again proved his all-around value on the baseball field. The left-handed hitter finished 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored to help Taft rally from an early 3-1 deficit. Aside from his offensive prowess, his base-running was likely the deciding factor in the game.

With the game tied 3-3 in the top of the seventh and runners on first and third, junior Mike Ruffolo notched a big strikeout for the second out of the inning. After the strikeout, the runner on first took off for second base. The Ridgewood catcher decided to throw the ball down to second base, where the shortstop knifed in to cut the ball before the bag. Suwinski, who was on third, read the designed first-and-third play immediately, and narrowly beat the throw at plate.

“That was a designed play,” said Suwinski, who’s ranked No. 13 in Illinois’ 2016 class. “I knew I was running on that play.”

Suwinski’s headiness also earned Taft a run in the fifth inning when he scored from second on a soft grounder to the first baseman. The pitcher was slow to get to the base, and by the time the first baseman flipped it, Suwinski never stopped and slid safely into home to tie the game at 3-3.

Junior left-hander Justin Vivar pitched two innings of spotless relief to earn the victory. He retired six straight behind a 78-80 mph fastball that topped at 82, and an effective 63-65 mph curveball. He ended the game with a strikeout.

Fred Fitte, a physical 6-foot-2 junior, went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks and a run scored for Taft. He also came in from first base to get Taft out of a first-and-second, two-out situation in the fifth. Fitte struck out the only batter he faced on an 84-mph fastball.

Senior 1B Gianfranco Sorrentino paced Ridgewood (12-13) by going 3-for-4 with a run scored. Mike Maurello added two hits and Frank Malicki had a RBI single in the third inning.

More in-depth scouting notes will be added to the Illinois Scout Blog later.

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