LAKE FOREST, Ill.– In the North Suburban Conference, there are difficult teams like Lake Zurich and Stevenson, and then there is Mundelein, the team that everyone circles on their schedule. Monday evening, the Scouts got their first shot at the Mustangs. In a game that didn’t feature much scoring, Lake Forest needed their defense to step up, and they answered the call. Michael Vallone threw a phenomenal game and the players behind him committed no errors. Slowly but surely, the Scouts pulled away in the low scoring game and picked up potentially their biggest win of the season.
The Mustangs scored their first and only run right out of the gates. Following Drew Breitenreiter’s leadoff single, Jeff Morton hit an RBI double to left field with one out putting Mundelein on the board first. Vallone and the Scouts defense did a swell job getting out of the inning with a runner in scoring position, however, and looked to respond to the lone run in the bottom half of the inning.
The Mustangs made a handful of mistakes Monday evening, one of which came in the first at-bat of the inning. Pitcher Steve Sanchez, an Arkansas commit, managed to strike out Scouts leadoff hitter Caleb Durbin, but he threw the ball passed the catcher allowing Durbin to reach safely on a drop third strike. Following his at-bat, JR Naughton drew a walk, then Andrew Gough had the one and only hit of the inning on a line drive RBI single to right field. Just like that, the game was tied and stayed tight for the remainder of the game.
Lake Forest took their first lead of the night in the bottom of the second. After the first two batters got out, the Scouts began a little two-out rally. After Ryan Lee drew a walk, Caleb Durbin had a crucial double to left field on a 0-1 count. This scored Lee all the way from first putting Lake Forest up by a run.
Meanwhile, as the Scouts were trying to pull away, Mundelein’s scoring opportunities kept vanishing due to the dominance of Vallone and the defense. In the 5th inning, Vallone’s most impressive inning of the night, he struck out the side against the Mustangs nine, one, and two batters in the order. Finally, in the bottom half of the inning, Lake Forest managed to pull away enough to give their pitcher some comfort.
With one out and a man on in the bottom of the fifth, Andrew Gough picked up his second RBI of the game, this time coming on an RBI double to right field. Then, after a Breck Nowik single advanced Gough to third, Matthew Hill’s ground ball to short scored a run extending the Scouts lead to three.
Vallone pitched up until the 6th inning, then Lake Forest closer Will Woidat finished the job in the 7th. The Lake Forest Scouts handed Mundelein only their 6th loss of the season as the upset put them above the .500 mark for the first time this year. With the playoff rankings coming out soon, the Scouts are in a close battle for 4th in the conference with Stevenson and Lake Zurich, a spot Lake Forest could take if they remain hot.
The Scouts knew ahead of time that their offensive production would be somewhat limited against the Mundelein Mustangs. Therefore they needed a solid performance from Michael Vallone, and they received just that. Not only did Vallone give up a single run, but the Scouts defense committed zero errors, while the Mustangs went on to commit three. Lake Forest will look to carry their momentum into Tuesday evening against the same Mustang’s team as they look to win the series and avoid losing their first game since April 23rd. With a win over Mundelein Monday evening, things are only pointing in a positive direction for this Scouts ballclub.