Last week, the Lake Forest Scouts Varsity baseball team went up against a very weak Waukegan Bulldogs team, who was (1-22) entering the series. The Scouts showed no mercy in any of the three games as they not just swept the series, but also slaughtered them in every single game. The Scouts scored 47 runs over the course of those three games while Waukegan could only manage to get 7. To open up IHSA playoff competition, Lake Forest took on Waukegan in a play-in game. With Jason Cast starting against a weak Waukegan pitching staff, the Scouts hoped to guarantee their spot in the first round of the playoffs.
Just like the majority of games this year, it did not take the Scouts long to get on the board. Caleb Durbin led off the bottom of the first with a single to center field, then Drew Golde got on base with a four pitch walk. With two men on and nobody out, the Scouts were in good shape with power hitters Charlie Reinkemeyer and Brad Czerniejewski coming up to the plate. On the third pitch of his at bat, Reinkemeyer got a hold of one, but couldn’t get the ball past the Bulldog’s center fielder, giving Czerniejewski the chance to get a pair of RBI’s. Similarly, however, Czerniejewski also flew out to center field. All of a sudden Waukegan had a solid chance of getting out of the first inning with no damage done, but Andrew Athenson had something different in mind. On the first pitch of his at-bat, he scorched a single to left field allowing Durbin to come all the way around and score. Lake Forest would not settle there. Next up, Paul Turelli hit a sharp ground ball that found its way passed the Bulldog infielders allowing both Golde and Athenson to cross the plate, propelling the Scouts to a 3-0 lead early in the contest.
After a quiet second inning by both teams, Waukegan got into striking position for the first time Monday evening. With one out, Jason Cast missed his target on a full count that hit a Waukegan batter, giving them their first baserunner of the game. Still with one out Cast made a throwing error, allowing the base runner to zoom past second base and slide in safely to third. Only a couple pitches later in the following at-bat, Waukegan was able to cut the Scouts’ lead to two when the base runner stole home on a passed ball. Waukegan was able to score without getting a hit in the inning, yet the Scouts had the final say in the bottom half of the 3rd .
Lake Forest got off to a sensational start in the bottom half of the inning. With no outs, Brad Czerniejewski sent a drive deep enough to right field allowing him to get all the way to third scoring Charlie Reinkemeyer who had previously walked in the at bat before his. Following the triple, Andrew Athenson kept the line moving when he hit a singled to left field picking up his second RBI of the game. At that point the Scouts had a five run advantage and wouldn’t stop producing. With one out, starting pitcher Jason Cast got into the action when he hit the Scouts’ second triple of the night to center field, allowing Athenson to score. With a man on third, Brain Heidbreder, who was in the batter’s box had only one focus: to score Cast from third. On a 2-1 count he did just that. Heidbreder hit a beaming line driving to right field allowing Cast to score with ease. Meanwhile, Heidbreder slid in safely to third giving the Scouts their third triple of the inning, which is something one rarely sees in baseball. Lake Forest was unable to score Heidbreder, but regardless, the team was quite comfortable with their 7-1 lead.
Following a scoreless 4th inning, it was desperation time for the Bulldogs. They needed to score six runs in the next three innings to keep their season alive. Waukegan started to build a comeback rally in the top of the fifth. They got the bases loaded almost immediately with nobody out, then got their second run of the night on an RBI groundout. Waukegan would end up getting one more run on yet another RBI ground out, but after loading up the bases to begin the inning, they could only walk away with two runs. Now they had to rely on their struggling defense to give them a shot in the game.
Just like in the third inning, the Scouts got off to a terrific start. Griffin Strang drew a leadoff walk, then Jason Cast followed with a double to left field. Now with men on second and third and no outs, the Scouts looked to write off Waukegan. Brian Heidbreder helped do just that. The first pitch that he saw, he drilled out to center field allowing both runners on the base path to score giving the Scouts their six run lead back. The next two Lake Forest batters that followed both grounded out, which seemed to present Waukegan the slightest of chances at a comeback, but that chance was quickly erased. After Drew Golde walked, Charlie Reinkemeyer hit an infield single that scored Heidbreder from third. The Scouts now had a seven run lead and were going for a slaughter rule victory, which only happens when a team is up by ten runs after a minimum of 5 innings. With the bases loaded, Andrew Athenson picked up his third and fourth RBIs of a game when he hit a single to right field. Lake Forest would end up completing the slaughter when Griffin Strang reached on an error by the first basemen that scored Reinkemeyer from third. With that, the Lake Forest Scouts won the contest by the final score of 13-3, earning their fourth straight victory over Waukegan by double digits.
With the victory, the Lake Forest Scouts have punched their ticket to the first round of the playoffs after winning the play-in Regional quarterfinal. They will face off against Warren Wednesday evening on the road which will be a very intriguing matchup. The last time the two schools met was in April when the Scouts went 1-2 in their series with the Blue Devils. Warren is now an impressive (24-9) on the season and will be a sure test to the Scouts who are now riding a five game win streak. Lake Forest’s ace, Paul Turelli, will take the mound Wednesday evening at Warren Township High school’s Almond Road campus in Gurnee. Make sure to support your Lake Forest Scouts as they look to make a deep playoff run.