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Rams rebound from slow start by reeling off five straight wins

Hot streak includes Tomlinson’s no-hitter against Morton

By Chris Fox

The Glenbard East baseball team improved its Upstate Eight Valley Conference record to 2-0 with Saturday’s 6-5 win over Elgin in Lombard. The Rams held a 6-2 lead after six innings, but the visiting Maroons rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh inning. Elgin had the tying run at third base when Glenbard East senior pitcher Steve O’Brien recorded a strikeout to end the game. O’Brien took the mound in the seventh inning and notched the final three outs to earn a save.
Saturday’s victory gave the Rams a five-game winning streak and improved the team’s overall season record to 9-5.
“We didn’t play clean baseball at the start of the season; that cost us some games,” said Glenbard East coach Joel Pelland after the win over the Maroons. “When we play to our ability, we’re tough.”
Glenbard East’s battle against Elgin was a crossover contest against one of the Upstate Eight Conference’s River Division teams. The Rams, who play in the Valley Division, opened up their conference season with another crossover game—a 7-4, 11-inning triumph at Elgin-Larkin on April 8.
Senior Conner Grzenia pitched the first four innings against Elgin and earned the victory. Senior Austin Novak pitched the next two innings before O’Brien took the mound with two runners on base and no outs in the seventh inning.
Junior Jack Oberli provided two hits and drove in two runs for the Rams. Sophomore Bret Bushka contributed a run-scoring double in the fifth inning, while senior Tommy Wilkans hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning. Senior Austin Grote and junior William Brown each drove in one run.
Senior Brett Tomlinson pitched a no-hitter in the Rams’ previous contest—a 10-0, six-inning win at Morton on April 12. Tomlinson struck out 11 batters and gave up only one walk in shutting down the Mustangs.
Senior Brandon Quigley went 2-for-3 and drove in two runs for the Rams. Brown and senior Nathan Bertuca each contributed one hit and two RBIs.
Wilkans hit a game-tying home run in the sixth inning of the Rams’ conference opener at Elgin-Larkin on April 8. His solo homer tied the game at 4-4. The game remained deadlocked until Glenbard East scored three runs in the top of the 11th inning.
O’Brien entered the game in relief and fired six scoreless innings to earn the victory over the Royals. He gave up one hit and three walks after taking the mound in the sixth inning. O’Brien struck out six batters.
Two days after beating Elgin-Larkin, the Rams defeated Wheaton North 7-4. Glenbard East trailed the Falcons 4-1 before scoring five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Bushka highlighted the rally when he lined a bases-loaded double that drove in three runs and gave the Rams a 6-4 lead.
Bertuca pitched the first five innings and earned the victory for the Rams. Novak worked two scoreless innings to pick up a save.
One day after beating Wheaton North, the Rams traveled to Addison Trail and earned a 9-6 win over the Blazers. Glenbard East scored five runs in the second inning and four runs in the fourth inning. Junior Taylor Westerhoff went 2-for-5 and drove in three runs. Senior Billy Davis Mills turned in a 3-for-4 performance at the plate and drove in one run.
Senior Austin Grote pitched four innings to earn the win. Grote didn’t give up any earned runs for the Rams, who committed three errors. Junior Jack Crackel worked the last three innings, allowing one run.
Glenbard East will open its conference schedule against Valley Division competition with this week’s three-game series against West Aurora.

Young Warriors pick up their first two wins

By Chris Fox

The Willowbrook softball team rebounded from an 0-4 start to its season by posting two straight victories. The Warriors picked up their first win of the season on April 7, when they defeated Wheeling 13-8 in Villa Park. Willowbrook secured another home win on April 11, beating Proviso West 12-0 in five innings.
The Warriors fell to 2-5 with a 12-3 loss at Glenbard South on April 12. The Raiders blew the game open with eight runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.
“This is a whole new team,” said Willowbrook coach Rachel Karos after the loss to Glenbard South. “We’re definitely young, and our two pitchers are varsity newcomers.”
Senior pitcher Veronica Swan of the Warriors earned the win against Wheeling. Junior Madison Campbell allowed only one hit over five innings to pick up the win over Proviso West.
Senior Allison Letson connected for three hits and scored three runs against Wheeling, while sophomore Samantha Mishlove provided two hits.
The Warriors scored seven first-inning runs in their win over Proviso West. Senior Megan Talan, junior Jiana Funteas, junior Katie Smith and sophomore Anna Carson contributed hits in the inning.
Mishlove launched a solo home run over the left-field fence in the fourth inning of the game at Glenbard South. Mishlove’s homer cut the Raiders’ lead to 4-3. Glenbard South then piled up eight runs against Swan and the Warriors in the bottom of the fourth inning.
“Veronica pitched fine,” said Karos of the Raiders’ eight-run eruption. “We had a rough inning, and it snowballed. When you give teams extra outs, you’re going to be in trouble.”
The Warriors will open their West Suburban Gold Conference season with this week’s games at Hinsdale South and Proviso East.