SYCAMORE – It started with an error. It didn’t end with just one mistake for the DeKalb County Liners.
The Liners struggled in the infield all night against the Illinois Lincolns, committing five errors in a 7-3 loss at Sycamore Park. DeKalb County (12-9) is now in the midst of a three-game losing streak in Midwest Collegiate League play.
Two Brian Estevez errors in the third inning allowed the Lincolns (11-8) to get two runners on, and Illinois cut a two-run DeKalb County lead in half on a fielder’s choice by Tyler Follis to score Heyden Martin.
DeKalb County scored a run in the third when Estevez scored on a wild pitch. But another Estevez error – his third of the first four innings before being pulled for Jared Tomany – allowed Ashton Perritt to score and make it 3-2 Liners.
Illinois took the lead in the fifth, taking advantage of another DeKalb County error. Conor Philben reached on an infield single, then stole second and took third on a Matt Risdon throwing error. He scored on a fielder’s choice by Chris Hipchen. Steve Kedroski then blasted a triple off the right field wall to score Philben.
“We’ve got to try and make them relax a little bit more and just make regular plays,” DeKalb County manager Mike Siwiec said. “We make the plays, we’re in the game.”
The errors wasted what was shaping up as a good outing for Liners starter Tanner Funke. Funke retired the first six hitters he faced before the errors added up. Funke gave up seven runs in six innings, and none of them were earned.
“He did his job,” Siwiec said. “He did what he was supposed to do. We should have been out of those innings.”
Illinois would pour it on with three runs in the sixth. Frank Picchiotti hit an RBI single to score Zack Yesko, who had reached on an Anthony Colosimo error. Hipchen added a two-RBI double for the Lincolns to put the game out of reach.
Siwiec said the Liners have to stop putting so much pressure on themselves when things don’t go well, as they did in the field early on in the ballgame.
“Well, we were flat. We can’t give away runs,” he said. “Our offense has been struggling a little bit, and if we give away runs, then we’re in trouble.”
The Liners had several raffles and a silent auction to benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer research. DeKalb County next plays at 7:05 p.m. today at the Northwest Indiana Oilmen.