Visiting Warren completed its two-game sweep of rival Zion-Benton in the North Suburban Lake, building an 8-0 lead that was big enough to survive some shaky defensive play and having its manager ejected. The Blue Devils (8-2, 2-0) beat the Zee-Bees (3-4, 0-2) 4-1 on Tuesday.
THE TURNING POINT
A four-run fourth made it 8-0. The inning started with two one-out walks, a hit-batsman and another walk. A two-run single by Wes Gordon and a sac fly by Andrew Hill followed.
Warren had a pair in leadoff hitter/shortstop Dominic Cuevas (2-for-3, walk, three runs scored, two RBI) and cleanup hitter/center fielder Gordon (2-for-3, walk, four RBI).
BY THE NUMBERS
Jay Nickell was the winning pitcher, working into the sixth inning and allowing one earned run on four hits with four strikeouts and a hit-batsman. Zion pitchers walked nine and hit one, and walked in runs in the fourth and sixth frames. Zion’s Angel Verduzco was 2-for-3 and scored once, and Leo Zaremba had an RBI triple in the seventh.
While in the dugout, Warren’s Clint Smothers was told to leave the field by the base umpire in the bottom of the seventh for making a comment from the bench about lack of attention by the umps on the bases. It was sparked by a play in which Warren’s right fielder dropped a fly ball, then threw the ball into left field while trying to throw to second. The bad throw allowed a Z-B runner to score, and Warren felt the runner missed third base on the way home. Because of the ejection, Smothers won’t be able to manage Warren in its next game, which is Friday against unbeaten Grant.
“There are definitely some positives. We didn’t give up. We battled back. We always talk about playing a complete game, and we have yet to do that this season. I’d like to see us not give up two or three in the first couple of innings, and actually get two or three ourselves, and not wait until the third or fourth inning to get the bats going.” — Z-B manager Chris Harmeling
“We can definitely compete with teams like Libertyville and Mundelein, and if we do the right things, I think we’re capable of beating them.” — Warren’s Cuevas
“We’re 8-2 to start this year, and I couldn’t be more proud of these kids. They’ve battled and been in every game. Our pitchers have been throwing well, and our defense has been good. We have 18 sophomores and juniors playing varsity baseball. We have great kids that work hard and compete. That’s what we asked them to do at the beginning of the season, and that’s what they’ve done every game.” — Warren manager Smothers