GURNEE, Ill.–After dropping their most recent game in disappointing fashion to the Stevenson Patriots, the Lake Forest Scouts varsity baseball team was anxious to get back on the diamond and make adjustments with a big week of games ahead of them. Unfortunately, three straight games had to be postponed due to inclement weather. After a lengthy stretch without a game, Lake Forest traveled to Warren High School Tuesday afternoon to take on the Blue Devils. This was a game that was nothing like their conference opener against the Patriots as they limited their mistakes on defense, were smart at the plate, and kept things close with Warren throughout the game. However, one at-bat from Blue Devil second basemen Mikey Kocen made the difference in what was a thrilling game.
After a strong first inning, the Scouts found themselves in some trouble in the bottom of the second. With two men on base and only one out, Thomas Kennedy ripped a double to center allowing both runners to come across the plate. Starting pitcher Colin Lochiatto was able to make quick work of the next two batters and get his team out of the inning.
Lake Forest had an offensive spark in the top of the 4th inning as Drew Golde reached with a bunt single, then quickly found himself at third after a wild pitch. After Andrew Gough walked, Golde managed to cut the lead in half by crossing the plate on a sacrifice fly by Matt Hill. Shortly after Lake Forest loaded up the bases, Andrew Gough came across the plate on yet another sacrifice fly, this time stroked by Breck Nowik. The game, however, only stayed tied for a matter of minutes as Warren had an answer in the bottom half of the inning.
After loading the bases, the Blue Devils were threatening to not just retake the lead, but pull away from the Scouts. After a wild pitch allowed one Blue Devil runner to score, Mickey Kocen delivered on a one-out double to right field. Two runners crossed the plate giving Warren a three run advantage that they wouldn’t relinquish. At that point, Connor Morrison relieved Lochiatto, who managed to get the Scouts out of the inning without any further damage.
Down three, Lake Forest showed some life in the top of the seventh. Caleb Durbin was the first Scout to reach in the inning on an error by Blue Devil shortstop Danny Ahn. Then, with two outs and two men on, Andrew Gough kept the game alive with a double to right field scoring both Durbin and Ryan Lee, who walked on a pinch hit opportunity. The Scouts’ resilient effort fell just short, though, as they were unable to get Sam Sheffield, Gough’s pitch runner who represented the game-tying run, across the plate as he was left stranded on second . Warren improved their record to (6-1), while the Scouts dropped to a disappointing (1-5).
Although the Lake Forest Scouts varsity baseball team did not get the result that they desired, they still showed a lot of improvement compared to their first conference game. Last night, the team as a whole only committed one error, which proved to be irrelevant in the outcome of the game. Even Lake Forest’s offense was a bit sharper. The team tallied five hits and five walks against Warren. The only concerning number that showed up in the stat sheet was the number of strikeouts. Of the ten players that got an at-bat, eight had at least one strikeout. The problem isn’t that players are taking bad at-bats, it is more that they just aren’t putting the ball in play, which is essential in high school baseball. Although the season has gotten off to a rough start, the Lake Forest Scouts seem to be making adjustments and are beginning to look stronger. The team will take on Warren tomorrow afternoon at Varsity Field at 4:30, then will make up their games against Stevenson on Thursday and Friday. Stay tuned to the Forest Scout for the latest on the Scouts varsity baseball team as they look to improve their record after a rough start.