LAKE FOREST, Ill.–Winning a series over the Mundelein Mustangs is rare. Sweeping them isn’t just rare, it is virtually unheard of. Wednesday night, the Lake Forest Scouts varsity baseball team looked to bring out the broomsticks and sweep away one of the best teams in the conference. Connor Morrison was given the start for the Scouts, while Rahul Champaneri, who is 4-1 on the season, took the hill for the Mustangs. Almost immediately, Mundelein proved to Lake Forest why the sit amongst the best in the North Suburban Conference. They jumped out to an early lead, and from that point on, never looked back.
After Morrison walked the first two batters of the game, Ryan Patel cleared the bases on a double to centerfield. Two at-bats later, after the Mustangs drew another walk, it was Ben Holly who extended the lead to four on another two run double to centerfield. Morrison proceeded to retire the next three batters that came to the plate and dodged what could have been an immense inning for Mundelein.
The Scouts had all sorts of trouble against Champaneri throughout the duration of the game. Scouts batters were striking out right and left as Lake Forest only had three hits in the first five innings. While their defense was at the top of their game, the Mustangs’ offense proceeded to put the game out of reach.
In the top of the 4th, with Peter Turelli now in as pitcher, Mundelein had four straight singles, which would extend their lead to six. Among those who picked up an RBI was Ryan Patel, who ended up scoring half of the teams runs. Now down six, the Scouts were running out of time to keep their miraculous win streak alive.
Lake Forest finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom half of the sixth. With Champaneri still on the mound, JR Naughton got things started with a single to center field. In the Scouts next at-bat, Drew Golde ripped a fly ball to deep right field resulting in a double and Naughton scored all the way from first. After the Mundelein pitcher retired the next two batters, Peter Turelli gave the Scouts a little more life on a comebacker that drilled Champaneri and rolled into the middle of the infield grass preventing any of the Mustangs to make a play on it. Now down four runs, the Scouts still had plenty of work to do in the bottom of the seventh.
With fatigue dawning on Rahul Champaneri, Mustang head coach Randy Lerner opted to pull his starting pitcher and let closer Ryan Patel finish the game. Patel threw straight gas against the three batters he faced. With a red hot fastball and dirty change up, he managed to retire the side putting a cap on the game. The Mustang’s went on to avoid the sweep handing the Scouts their first loss in 11 games with the final score being 6-2.
So what went wrong? What did the Lake Forest Scouts do differently than the past 11 games that granted them a loss? First off, they let Mundelein get ahead by a decent margin early. Although they have made some impressive comebacks this season, getting behind a team like the Mustangs always makes the path getting back into the game much steeper. The Scouts also struck out 11 times, which seems to have been a problem the entire year. Mundelein also played a clean game. There were not many mistakes Lake Forest could have taken advantage of. This is one of those games that the Scouts just need to put behind them. A loss is a loss, and they have an important weekend ahead of them with games scheduled against Vernon Hills and Barrington. Stay tuned to The Forest Scout for the latest on the Lake Forest Scouts varsity baseball team.