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Wildcats defeat Mundelein 6-4 in a thriller

Cats+pitcher+Riley+Gowens+delivers+a+pitch+in+the+Cats+6-4+win.
Cats pitcher Riley Gowens delivers a pitch in the Cats 6-4 win.

Cats pitcher Riley Gowens delivers a pitch in the Cats 6-4 win.

Cats pitcher Riley Gowens delivers a pitch in the Cats 6-4 win.

Brandon Simberg, Staff Writer

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The first game of the three-game series for first place in the North Suburban Conference lived up to the hype on Tuesday, May 2, as Libertyville defeated Mundelein, 6-4.

On the mound were two of the top pitchers in the conference: Mustangs senior Brendan Murphy, who is committed to Arizona State, and Wildcats junior Riley Gowens, who holds multiple Division I offers.

Murphy has been lights out all year, but the Wildcats jumped on him early. Ben Arnold led off with a double, followed by a Dan Marks double that knocked Arnold in. Marks later scored on a wild pitch, giving the Cats a 2-0 lead after one.

It was more of the same for the Wildcats in the second inning. After Arnold was hit by a pitch to load up the bases, Marks hit a big single that scored two more.

The Mustangs would not quit however. Hard-hitting first baseman Steven Sanchez (an Arkansas commit) crushed a two-run homer to make it 4-2 in the bottom of the second inning. “I just left it too far over the plate,” said Gowens, who struck out eight hitters and allowed four runs in five innings of work.

The Wildcats did well in hitting against one of the state’s top pitchers. “After my first at bat, I feel like I got the nerves out of the way and just tried to get my hands inside of the ball and stay through the middle,” said junior clean-up hitter Nick Angel.

In the bottom of the fifth, Mundelein had two runners on and one out  when a runner left early on a sac fly, which resulted in a double play. It was a costly mistake that got Gowens out of a jam.

In the bottom of the sixth, with runners on base, senior relief pitcher Ben Land came in and recorded three straight outs to get the Wildcats out of the inning.

Marks knocked in another run for the Cats in the top of the seventh, and they had a 6-4 lead going into the last half inning. Land got the first two batters out, however after a walk and a double by Mundelein, the tying run was on second base and Murphy, who already had two hits on the day, was up to bat.

The Wildcats brought in right-hander Colin Fields, who struck out Murphy on four pitches to end the game. “I just thought about keeping the ball down so my defense could have a chance to make a play,” said Fields, who was not fazed by the pressure situation.

The win gives the Cats an 11-2 record in conference. The Mustangs are tied with them for first place at 11-2 as well. “Mundelein [versus] Libertyville is always such a great rivalry and with the talent that both teams have this year, going in there and beating their guy is obviously a huge confidence booster for us,” said Gowens.

The final two games of the series will be played on Wednesday, May 3, and Thursday, May 4, and they could very likely determine which team will finish in first place in the conference.

 

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The student news publication of Libertyville High School
Wildcats defeat Mundelein 6-4 in a thriller