Willowbrook upends No. 7 Downers South, again

By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

VILLA PARK – No. 7 Downers Grove South was one of the state’s hottest teams, having won 15 of its last 16 games, including 14 straight. The Mustangs entered Monday’s game with the West Suburban Gold championship on the line, and the hard-throwing Zack Burdi on the mound.

Willowbrook didn’t seem impressed. The Warriors shrugged off the odds and edged Downers Grove South, 1-0, to likely spoil the Mustangs’ conference championship hopes.

Although certainly not as flashy as Burdi, junior right-hander Jake Cady pitched a complete-game shutout to propel Willowbrook (13-9, 6-7) to the rubber-match victory in the three-game series. Willowbrook had ended Downers South’s 14-game win streak in the first game of the teams’ doubleheader on Saturday. Cady yielded six hits, struck out one and walked one to drop Downers South to 23-5 and 15-3 in conference.

Left-handed hitting third baseman Kevin Johnson provided all the offense Cady would need when he slapped a two-out RBI single through the left side of the infield to break a scoreless tie in the bottom of the sixth. Left fielder Steven Ferguson, who started the sixth-inning rally with a one-out infield single, scored the game’s only run.

In the early innings, Willowbrook couldn’t muster anything against Burdi, an Iowa recruit who’s currently the No. 1-ranked prospect in Illinois’ 2013 class. Burdi retired the first 10 batters he faced, seven via strikeout, behind a heavy 90-92 mph fastball with wicked arm-side run and a hard 79-mph slider.

For the game, Burdi struck out eight, allowed four hits – two of the infield variety – walked four and hit one batter. Willowbrook’s sixth-inning rally was aided by a walk, a hit batsman and two passed balls.

University of the Pacific-bound first baseman Dan Mayer paced the Mustangs by going 2-for-3 with a double, and third baseman Kevin Raher also had two hits, including a double.

Downers South’s loss likely gave Hinsdale South the conference championship, as Hinsdale South finishes up its conference season with winless Proviso East.

Complete scouting notes from the game will be posted at the Illinois Scouting Blog on Tuesday.


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