McHENRY – Cary-Grove baseball coach Don Sutherland didn’t hesitate to call Tuesday’s game against McHenry a must-win.
With the top six teams in the FVC Valley all within six games of each other, Sutherland said every game matters that much more.
“That’s what we thought was going to happen,” Sutherland said. “Anyone can beat anybody.”
The Trojans responded with an 11-6 win over the Warriors at Fred Meyer Field.
The score was tied at 4 through five innings before Cary-Grove (14-5, 8-3) blew it open with five runs in the top sixth.
The Trojans jumped on the chance when they got into the bullpen of the Warriors (15-8, 9-3). Cody Freund relieved starter Nick Svoboda with Jeremy Vasquez and Dean Lee on first and second with one out.
Matt Sutherland loaded the bases with a walk for C-G, and a Patrick Serowka infield single scored Vasquez. Mathew Ewart walked to score Lee.
Robert Nagel was called in relief for Freund, but the Trojan hits kept coming. A Zach Marszal double to left field scored Sutherland and Serowka, and a Daniel Vilardo sacrifice fly scored Ewart.
“We took better approaches as the game went on and got some runs,” Sutherland said. “I felt like they were throwing the ball on the outer half early and we were kind of trying to pull off. We started to hit the ball where it’s pitched.”
Marszal went 2 for 4 for the Trojans with two doubles, driving in three runs while stealing two bases. Ewart also drove in three runs for Cary with two runs scored. Sutherland reached base in all four at bats, with two singles, two walks and scored three runs.
Marszal also saved two runs from scoring with a jumping catch in right field. McHenry had the bases loaded with one out in the bottom sixth, and Devon Gehrke drove the ball deep into right, and while backpedaling, Marszal jumped up to get it.
Andrew Brierton returned from a sprained ankle suffered on last Friday. Brierton missed a start, but shined in his return. Brierton didn’t overpower, but pitched to his defense, scattering seven hits over six innings with two earned runs, three walks and a strikeout.
“I just try and throw strikes,” Brierton said. “I’m playing with Advil. My ankle’s still swollen. It’s my left ankle, so it’s my landing foot.”
The Warriors found runs, but struggled putting together consecutive hits.
“We couldn’t string together a couple of hits,” McHenry coach Brian Rockweiler said. “[Brierton] was throwing strikes all day. He did what he had to do and they made the plays behind him.”