In the past three games prior to Thursday’s contest against Deerfield, the Lake Forest Scouts Varsity baseball team has put up 47 runs, which is practically unheard of in the majors, minors, college and, quite frankly, any baseball league you can find. The Scouts put their red hot offense to the test once again Thursday evening against the Deerfield Warriors, who are (12-20) on the season and who were coming off of a slaughter-rule victory over Maine East, making the matchup very intriguing. Jackson Thomas, who has pitched 12 ⅔ innings this season and has sustained a 3.316 ERA, took the mound hoping to keep the Warriors runs at a minimum assuming that the Scouts crushing offense would do the rest.
After Thomas shut down the Warriors in the top half of the inning, Caleb Durbin got the Scouts offense steaming when he sent a single to center field. With that hit, Durbin is now hitting over .500. Let’s put that into perspective .for a moment Last season Cal Coughlan hit .426 as a senior, which helped him earn a scholarship with TCU, who is now ranked 6th in the nation. Durbin, still a junior, is hitting .505. With over a year left of his high school playing days, the future is bright for this underrated talent. Following his single, Drew Golde reached on a walk, moving Durbin into scoring position. After Deerfield’s starting pitcher, Nate Schwartz, got the next two batters out, Durbin was able to steal third then cross the plate on a wild pitch. At the end of the first, the Scouts had a one run advantage.
After allowing a run that surely could have been avoided, Deerfield stormed back in the 2nd. Ben Sodikoff was the first to get a hit off of Jackson Thomas in the inning, then John Dawson sent him into scoring position on a single. With men on first and third and one down, team captain Andrew Tyson hit a single to center field allowing both Sodikoff and Dawson to score. For the first time since last Saturday, the Scouts were trailing.
The Warriors ended up shutting down the Scouts in the bottom of the second, giving themselves the chance to extend their lead in the third. With one out in the inning, Sam Fradlin was able to get on base when Charlie Reinkemeyer mishandled the ground ball resulting in an error. Later in the inning, Fradlin was able to make his way to third with two outs on a steal. Ben Sodikoff got back into the action when he hit a sharp ground ball to left field scoring Frandlin with ease. With a two run lead, Deerfield was loose entering the bottom of the third.
Compared to the 1st inning, Caleb Durbin and Drew Golde flip-flopped. Durbin was hit by a pitch, drawing a walk, and Drew Golde hit a single to right. With two men on the Scouts were at least looking to cut down Deerfield’s lead to one, but that goal became tougher when Nate Schwartz got the second out of the inning. It was up to Brad Czerniejewski to keep the inning alive. After hitting two home runs in the series against Waukegan, he was looking for another one, but this time it would give the Scouts the lead. On an 0-2 count, instead of putting the ball over the fence, he dumped the ball into right field on a pretty swing, allowing Durbin to score and Golde to advance to third. The Scouts did not stop there. After Czerniejewski stole second base to get into scoring position, Andrew Athenson hit a single to left field, effectively clearing the bases and giving the Scouts the lead back. All of a sudden the momentum had shifted and the Scouts were in the driver’s seat.
Once Jackson Thomas shut down the Warriors again in the 4th, the Scouts offense began to pull away in the game. Jacob Hoffman, who served as Deerfield’s relief pitcher in the bottom half of the inning, only dug his team into a deeper hole. He walked the first batter he faced, then gave up a one out RBI single to Johnny Salm increasing Lake Forest’s lead to two. With two outs in the inning and nobody on, Drew Golde hit an infield single that eventually trickled to the shortstop position. Following the single, Charlie Reinkemeyer drew a walk to load up the bases for Brad Czerniejewski. He already had one clutch hit in the game, and he was looking for another to really separate the two teams’ run tallies. On the first pitch he saw, Czerniejewski launched a double to left field scoring two runs and giving the Scouts a 7-3 advantage. With three innings left and a four run advantage, the Scouts were feeling confident about picking up their fourth straight win.
After a scoreless fifth concluded, Deerfield attempted to sneak back into the game in the sixth. With a man on second and two outs, Sam Fradlin hit a double to right field scoring Aaron DeLisle. Lake Forest’s lead had been cut to three, but it did not take long for them to rebound and block the Warriors’ Comeback attempt. Johnny Salm began the bottom half of the 6th with a double, then scored on a Caleb Durbin single. The Scouts added one more run before the inning concluded when Andrew Athenson singled to left field scoring Charlie Reinkemeyer. With a 9-4 lead and one inning to play, the Scouts could taste their fourth straight victory.
The Deerfield Warriors tacked on one more run off of an error in the bottom of the 7th, but regardless, the Lake Forest Scouts had won 9-5. Yet again the Scouts offense was strong all around, while the Scouts defense also played a fantastic game. Jackson Thomas picked up the win while Drew Golde got the save.
With this victory the Scouts are now an even (16-16) on the season and will attempt to have a winning record entering the playoffs on Monday against Waukegan. The Scouts are off on Friday, but will resume play Saturday morning at Glenbrook South. With one regular season game left, the Lake Forest Scouts are in crunch time.