Baseball: Kenosha Indians 18s sizzling with 23-3 mark
Updated: July 12, 2012 5:42PM
MUNDELEIN — With one of its aces on the hill, right-hander Adam Gomski, things were looking good for the Kenosha Indians 18U baseball team in the semifinals of the Break Out the Lumber Tournament at Joliet West High School on Sunday.
Gomski, a senior-to-be at Grayslake North, hurled six innings of two-hit ball, mowing down nine White Sox Academy batters via strikeout in the process. And though he allowed zero earned runs, the Academy squad prevailed 2-1 in 10 innings, as the California Rules were instituted due to time constraints.
“Gomski’s been dominant on the mound, as well as at the plate,” said Indians head coach Clay Kovac. “He’s a bulldog … throws strikes and has a good breaking ball. And he gives us good hacks.”
Two errors — an overthrow to second base on a steal attempt, and a subsequent passed ball — gave White Sox Academy a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Kenosha tied it at 1-1 in the bottom of the frame, and that’s the way it stood until the Academy won it with a single tally in the 10th.
Kyle Kennedy, a senior-to-be at Warren, relieved Gomski in the seventh, eventually taking the loss.
“(Kennedy) came into a tough situation,” Kovac said. “But he shut the door.”
The Indians then had a chance to win it in the last of the seventh, but a runner was thrown out at home. The rest of the game featured the California Rules, in which teams begin an inning with a runner on second, one out, and a 1-and-1 count on every batter.
The loss left Kenosha with a stellar 23-3 record this summer. Prior to the Lumber tourney, the Indians went 6-0 to win the Dream Bats Tournament, in Fond du Lac, Wis., on June 10, followed by a 6-0 run to nab the crown at the Valparaiso University College Exposure Tournament on June 17.
“Our main focus is getting better and facing good competition — and winning each tourney,” Kovac said. “And we’re right on the bubble every time.”
Kenosha opened Lumber pool play with a 12-1 win over the Southside Express on Friday.
Gomski (4-for-4, 3 RBIs) and 2012 Mundelein graduate Chris Maranto (2-for-4, 2 RBIs) paced the offense. Kyle Cibrario (Libertyville, Class of ’12) started on the mound, tossing four innings of three-hit ball (9 strikeouts), and Kennedy (3 innings, hit, 6 K’s) finished up.
Game 2 of pool play was a tighter affair, with Kenosha winning 4-1 on Saturday. Jared Mandel (Mundelein, Class of ’12) was the winning pitcher, allowing no earned runs and four hits in seven innings, with 10 strikeouts.
“Jared had them off balance with his breaking ball, slider and change-up. He was in control,” Kovac said. “All of our pitchers are very good. And the guys behind ’em know they’re going to throw a good game.”
Kenosha held a 2-1 lead after three innings, increasing it to 4-1 with a pair of runs in the fourth. The rally featured an RBI squeeze bunt by Mark Lynam (Zion-Benton, Class of ’12) scoring Zach Osisek, a senior-to-be at Mundelein. Anthony Mack (Libertyville, Class of ’12) smacked an inside-the-park home run in the victory as well.
The Indians reached the semis with a 10-1 win over the Evanston Naturals later that day. Kenosha scored once in the first inning, “and kept adding on from there,” Kovac said.
Starting pitcher Mike Rogers, a Libertyville senior-to-be, earned the win. In six inning, he allowed one run — in the first — on four hits, with seven strikeouts.
“After the first, Mike came in and said, ‘I gotta throw strikes,” ’ Kovac said. “We talked about mechanical stuff, and you could see the confidence build — and then he started throwing strikes. And our defense played great behind him.”
Carl Russell (Grayslake North, Class of ’13) had two hits, as did Anthony Garza (Warren, Class of ’12), who chalked up six steals in all during the tourney. Lynam added an RBI double.
Next up for Kenosha is the 6th Annual Top Collegiate Prospect Tournament, based in Bloomington and running today through Sunday.
“It’s a big tourney to get exposure for some of the guys looking to play at the next level,” Kovac said. “And every game we play, I feel we have the best team out there. It’s just a great group of kids.”
The Indians’ roster also includes Wauconda products Kyle Bock, Cody Rapier and Shawn Sundquist; Lakes High School’s Ryan Burnett and Chris Hoffman; Warren’s Tanner Erbach, Caleb Haley and Jason Matt Gissendaner; and Mundelein’s Ryan Spencer.