SHABBONA – The combination of timely hitting and solid pitching helped Indian Creek keep its hopes for a share of the Little Ten Conference baseball title alive.
The Timberwolves used a key four-run third inning to eventually defeat rival Hinckley-Big Rock, 7-4, Thursday afternoon.
Indian Creek (14-3, 13-2 LTC) must now top the Royals again this afternoon in Big Rock, then hope Hiawatha can come out victorious Saturday against league frontrunner Somonauk, which has one conference loss.
Indian Creek freshman Trevor Guerra (7-0) picked up the victory by going the first five innings, scattering five hits and striking out two.
“Trevor did a really nice job for us today despite not having his best stuff,” Indian Creek coach Joe Piekarz said. “He battled through it, just pitched strikes and made them put the ball in play. That is what has made him so successful this season.”
H-BR grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first with David Boehne singling home Guerra, who had doubled to lead off the inning. H-BR starting and losing pitcher Jake Ryan (three earned runs, six strikeouts) helped himself in the third with a two-out, two-run double to right to give the Royals a 2-1 advantage.
“We missed six signs offensively, we didn't run the bases exceptionally well and we just didn't do enough to keep the pressure on them to make the plays,” H-BR coach Brad Unger said. “We had opportunities, we just didn't take advantage of them.”
Indian Creek responded in its half of the third to take the lead for good. David Emanuel (2 for 3) led off with single, and after a pair of outs, Boehne came through again by driving him home. A base hit by Jake Wieseler and walk to Chris Pickwell loaded the bases. Lane Rissman followed a Royals miscue with a two-run single to center to give Indian Creek a 5-2 lead.
The Royals (7-9, 6-8 LTC) made it a 5-4 game in the sixth with Dutch Schneeman leading off with a single ahead of back-to-back RBI doubles from Hunter Seierstad and Jacob Morsch. Piekarz then replaced Guerra with Wieseler, who after a sacrifice, fanned the next two batters to end the threat.
“We made it a one-run game heading to the bottom of the sixth, but credit them, they were patient at the plate, got a couple base runners, got a couple hits and were able to score a couple insurance runs that were a little too much for us,” Unger said.
The Timberwolves scored the pair of insurance runs on an error and a sacrifice fly by Guerra. Wieseler then slammed the door shut by fanning the side in the seventh.
“It was nice for us to be able to tack on a couple more runs in the sixth. It's a big difference going into the seventh with a three-run lead instead of just a one-run lead," Piekarz said. “That is what [Wieseler] has done for us the last couple weeks, coming in and closing out games. He is just getting back into pitching and these have been the types of situations he been coming into. He's doing a great job of throwing strikes."