Varsity Wolves’ bats tear into Crosstown rival Panthers with 14-8 win

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Sophomore Adam Dowler warms up between the first and second inning, pitching to the catcher. “When I am pitching my mindset is just to try and get every guy out,” Dowler said. Photo by Scott Clarke.

The Wolves (15-8) took on the Oswego Panthers (14-11) Wednesday night and won the game in blowout fashion, with the final score being 14-8. The Wolves had recently gone on a two game skid, dropping a game to Oswego on Monday and Plainfield North on Tuesday. They were hoping to change their fortunes on Wednesday night.

Sophomore Adam Dowler, who just committed to play for Purdue University, took the hill for the Wolves. Senior Codey Quirin was the starting pitcher for the respective Panthers. In a battle of left-handers, both teams looked to jump out and snag a lead quickly.

The Panthers were unsuccessful in the first inning as Dowler mowed through them without breaking a sweat. However, the Wolves found success. In the bottom of the first, two back to back singles by junior Andrew Petsche and Dowler put the Wolves in good position to score. Junior right fielder Jacob Ferry did just that as he lined one into right field, scoring Petsche.

Ferry remembered what happened on Monday night against their bitter rivals and wanted make sure that didn’t happen again.

“It felt good to go out there and hit. I just wanted to go out there at stick it to them just like the rest of the guys did,” Ferry said.

The second inning remained uneventful, as Dowler and Quirlin sent batters back to the dugout in a blur.

The third inning was a replica of the second for Quirlin. For Dowler on the other hand, not so much. The Panthers jumped on Dowler quickly, starting with a double by senior catcher Avery Delphey, then a walk by junior shortstop Cal Hezja, followed by a long double by senior second baseman Luke Menard which drove in two runs. With Menard on second, senior third baseman Garry Maynard drove home Menard with a single, giving the Panthers the 3-1 lead. Dowler regained his composure as he sat the next two batters down, getting out of the jam.

That two run lead would not last for long though. In the next half inning, the Wolves’ bats caught on fire. Senior second baseman Collin Witzke drew a walk and Petsche got on base via error to start the bottom of the third. Up came Dowler, looking to erase the deficit he caused. He succeeded as he hit a screaming line drive up the middle scoring Witzke. Right fielder Jacob Ferry came up next and corked one out to left field for a three run bomb to put the Wolves in front 4-3.

“I was just going up there looking for the best pitch I could see,” Ferry said. “I knew there were a couple of runners on base and I was just trying to do whatever I could do to get them in and it paid off.”

Senior shortstop Cameron Knauss kept the party going as he doubled and was driven in by a single by senior catcher Adam Green. Quirlin would give up one more baserunner before retiring the next two to get out of the inning.

The Panthers came close to tying it right back up in the top of the fourth, as an infield hit, an error and a walk left the bases loaded, a mess that Dowler needed to get out of. Oswego’s Luke Menard smoked a pitch from Dowler but a great catch by Knauss kept the score at 5-3. Dowler had gotten himself out of the jam.

“I feel like I become more of a better pitcher in clutch situations and I think getting out of that jam really boosted my performance today,” Dowler said.

The Wolves went down in 1-2-3 order in the bottom of the fourth as Quirlin recovered from the three run shelling that took place last inning.

In the top of the fifth, Dowler struck out senior J.D. Miller and got Maynard to ground out in quick fashion. It looked like it would be a quick inning. However, two errors kept the inning going and eventually Dowler was replaced by junior Tyler Heidkamp. Oswego’s Darren Mancke drove home a run and a wild pitch from Heidkamp tied the game, 5-5. Heidkamp struck out the next batter to close the inning.

Just like in the third inning, the Wolves would take that lead right back, this time in an even bigger fashion. Junior third baseman Alex Kelsch started the inning off with a bang, drilling a home run over the left field fence. Knauss soon singled right after, signaling the end for Quirlin who was relieved by Mancke. He ended up getting Green out in a fielder’s choice, but senior right fielder Jalen Avery kept the rally going. Avery, an Oakton CC commit, had been recently struggling at the plate and was hoping to see something go his way.

“It felt good knowing I got that weight off my back. I’ve been slumping a little bit lately and it felt good to just get on base,” Avery said.

Avery would go on to steal second base. Mere moments later, Witzke drove home a run, as did Petsche and Dowler. Ferry would end up picking up his fifth RBI with a double into left field. Senior Matthew Tudder would come on and try to work his way out of the mess Mancke had left him. To make a long story short, he failed. Kelsch walked, Knauss drove in two more, Tudder walked Avery to drive in a run before finally getting that third out. The Wolves put up an 8 spot and now led 14-5.

The Panthers would score three more to make the game a bit closer at 14-8, but that would be all for them. The Wolves had avenged their loss from Monday night, losing 3-2 on a walk off hit. It always feels good to beat your rivals, but to get revenge has a different feeling.

“Getting that win after what happened Monday feels really good. We just wanted to get the dub, represent the school, and win Crosstown,” Knauss said.

Although Crosstown may feel different than any other game, Coach John Shore wanted to make sure the players felt like it was any other game.

“As coaches we realize it’s just another game, it’s a conference opponent as well as a sectional opponent and more importantly we wanted to just play good baseball,” Shore said.

The Wolves also had the memory of losing a tight game on Tuesday to the Tigers of Plainfield North, losing that game 3-2 as well. They knew the bats had to wake up and that’s exactly what happened Wednesday night.

“It was great to see the bats wake up, see some different approaches. To put up 14 runs is awesome and hopefully we can just build on that tomorrow against Plainfield Central and just keep it going until the end of the season,” Shore added.

The Wolves look to keep the bats hot and build on this momentum at Thursday night’s Senior Night at home against Plainfield Central (17-9) at 4:30 p.m.

Scott Clarke is a sports writer for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the Howl

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