DeKALB – When the wind is blowing in at DeKalb High School’s Dave Pettengell Field, hitting can be a daunting task.
The Barbs flew out seven times in Wednesday’s 10-0, six-inning loss to Dundee-Crown in the Class 4A DeKalb Regional semifinals, on a day where balls hit up into the wind weren’t really doing much.
“It’s pretty hard. As you saw, we had a couple [hard] hits from Jake Kuykendall and Logan Haring,” DeKalb right fielder Ryan Metsker said. “Usually on a day when there’s no wind, usually those balls are to the fence or even gone. Basically, we just had to keep it down today, but it didn’t play too much in our favor.”
Metsker had one of three hits for the Barbs (12-18), with the others coming courtesy of Shaun Johnson and Danny Petras.
Every hitter’s plan is to go up and hit a line drive or a ground ball. DeKalb just wasn’t able to carry out its plan in Thursday’s regional loss.
“I think a couple things when you’re talking about execution are, obviously, when you go up there you have to have a plan, and then just getting pitches where you can execute the plan on,” Barbs coach Jake Howells said. “I think part of it is, we have a tendency when we’re in big-time situations, we’ll have a tendency to overthink it or to get too excited, and then it causes us to struggle in those situations.
“When it comes to execution, you just have to plan and you have to know how you’re going to try and execute the plan. Obviously, that just didn’t happen for us today.”
Johnson started the game for DeKalb, getting off to a nice start with a 1-2-3 bottom of the first. Dundee-Crown (8-18) got on the board in the second when Trent Muscat singled in Luis Garcia, and the Chargers broke through with four runs in the third inning and another three in the fourth.
Dundee-Crown added its ninth run in the bottom of the fifth, and finished the game in the sixth when Ryan Suwanski scored on an error.
The Chargers hit the ball hard, and often it found a hole. Dundee-Crown seemingly broke the game open in the third, getting all four runs with two outs. The big frame came just an inning after the Barbs loaded the bases with one out but couldn’t bring home a run.
“Our kids just went up, they had a good idea of what they were going to do at the plate,” Chargers coach Jon Anderson said. “They got good pitches (to hit), got good swings on them.”