Heading into Monday’s game the Libertyville Wildcats boasted a record of 11-3, which was the second best behind the Mundelein Mustangs in the North Suburban Conference. The Lake Forest Scouts seeked to cool down their division rivals in their home opener under blue skies on a cold spring day in Lake Forest.
To begin the game, the Scouts defense was terrific. Their starting pitcher, Andrew Gough, could not have had a better start to the game. Not only did he hold the first ten Libertyville Wildcats batters hitless, but they couldn’t get on with a walk either. But Wildcats starting pitcher Riley Gowens matched Gough’s early dominance on the hill. The first baserunner of the game didn’t come until the bottom of the third inning. Gowens ended up pitching six innings giving the Scouts a hard time at the dish for the entirety of the evening.
Although Gowens had a pretty solid all around start, there were some flaws in his pitching. Charlie Reinkemeyer was the first runner of the game after he was walked on a 3-2 count. When Reinkemeyer reached first with no outs, head coach Ray Del Fava decided to have Paul Turelli bunt in order to move Reinkemeyer into scoring position. With two outs in the inning, Riley Gowens threw a wild pitch, effectively letting Reinkemeyer easily steal third with RBI machine Caleb Durbin at the plate. Durbin continued to add on to his impressive start to the 2017 season with a RBI single to right field, giving the Scouts the lead. But just like what we saw in Saturday’s game against Warren, the opposing team refused go away.
In the top half of the fourth the Wildcats got their first runner of the game on a miscommunication error by Drew Golde and Brad Czerniejewski in right center field. From that point on, Libertyville started to roll. Following the error, Dan Marks hit an infield single, then Nick Angel hit a line drive RBI single to even the score at one. After Gowens held the Scouts scoreless in the bottom half of the inning, the Libertyville Wildcats got back to business in the fifth with an RBI double from Tim Jean and a sacrifice fly from Dan Marks to stretch their lead to two runs.
Lake Forest tacked on one more run in the bottom of the fifth inning, but sadly that would be all the damage the Scouts offense could do. Libertyville had one more runner cross the plate in the seventh inning, giving them a 4-2 victory over Lake Forest.
So what went wrong? The Scouts ended up leaving seven base runners on. When they play a tough team like the Wildcats, they need to capitalize on the majority of the chances that they get. If the Scouts can limit the amount of players they leave on base at the end of an inning, they will have a much better chance at defeating the Cats in the next two games. There were also a couple costly errors by the Scouts defense, one of which led directly to a run for Libertyville. Of course, limiting errors will lead to less scoring chances for the opposing team.
Not everything was bad on Monday evening though. Lake Forest did showcase some potential for being a North Suburban Conference powerhouse. Andrew Gough pitched terrific last night while the defense behind him made some dazzling plays, like when Drew Golde made a stunning diving catch in right field. There certainly is room for improvement, but so far the Lake Forest Scouts have shown that they can be dangerous.
The Scouts will be in Libertyville tomorrow afternoon at 4:30 and will return home for the series finale on Wednesday. Go support your Lake Forest Scouts as the look to comeback and win the series against their bitter rivals.