Wilkening, Hetherington lead Crystal Lake South to opening game win

CRYSTAL LAKE – Crystal Lake South baseball coach Brian Bogda plans on using his team’s early season games to see “what they have” as they prepare for a busier schedule and warmer weather the rest of the year.

If the Gators' opening game is any indication, they have something he should be pretty happy about.

Junior Ryan Wilkening pitched four innings of one-hit ball and senior Ryan Hetherington had three hits and four RBIs to lead Crystal Lake South to the 13-0 victory over Streamwood at Lippold Park in Crystal Lake.

“Right now, we’re excited to be out here and competing and doing the best we can,” Bogda said. “In most facets of the game today, I thought we played pretty well. You’ve got to be happy after only being outside once or twice. To compete like this, I feel good about it.”

South used two pitchers in the five-inning game, and they combined to give up one hit while striking out six. The starter, and winning pitcher Wilkening, pitched the first four innings without allowing a hit until the fourth, which was also Streamwood’s first base runner of the game. Wilkening threw 52 pitches, striking out four and walking no one.

Bogda commended Wilkening on his command of the zone and his ability to keep batters off balance while throwing strikes.

“Coach has really worked us hard in the offseason and I felt really comfortable for my first start of the year,” Wilkening said. “I think we have a great pitching staff with three guys that can really contribute to the team.”

Josh Smith pitched an inning in relief to make his return after missing last season after undergoing shoulder surgery. Smith struck out two of the four batters he faced and did not allow a hit. Bogda plans on using Smith as a relief pitcher to start the season, and potentially as a starter as the season moves forward.

“He’s worked really hard to get to where he’s at and I’m really proud of him. It’s a real big deal for us in terms of pitching for our team,” Bogda said.

The Gators (1-0) scored in every inning, including a six-run fourth inning, where they racked up four hits and batted around. Hetherington led the team offensively, going 3 for 4 with two doubles, four RBIs and three runs.

“I’m just happy to be outside and hitting off a pitcher finally,” Hetherington said. “We just need to keep doing good things at the plate and in the field like today and things will go well this year.”

Junior Garrett Bright went 2 for 3 with a double and two runs scored and Michael Danca and Casey Oliver each added an RBI in the win.

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