MORRIS – The job of a leadoff hitter is to get on base.
Plainfield North’s Greg Budig did just that Thursday, and then some, as he helped lead the Tigers to a season-opening, 10-4, nonconference win over Morris.
Budig went to the plate five times Thursday, and he reached base every time. The first was by a walk, and the last two he was hit by a pitch. In the other two at-bats, he performed more like a cleanup hitter.
In the top of the second inning, he came to the plate with the bases loaded and a 1-0 lead. He drove an 0-2 pitch to the fence in left-center field that scored Nick Cerrato, who singled, Nate Curtis, who walked, and Ryan Summers, who reached on a bunt single, to put North ahead, 4-0. Then, in the top of the third inning, he came up with Curtis, who earlier had an RBI double, on third, and Summers, who drove in a run with a single, on second. Budig’s single through the middle scored both runners and gave him five RBIs for the game.
“With the bases loaded, I was just trying to put the ball in play and maybe get a run home,” Budig said. “I was able to get a pitch I could drive, and I put a good swing on it. My job as a leadoff man is to get on, and I did that today.
“We have had too many fieldhouse practices. It felt good to be outside.”
Plainfield North finished with 12 hits, and every starter had at least one. Budig, Summers and Cameron Kissel each had two hits.
“We hit the ball well today,” Plainfield North coach John Darlington said. “We have a lot of guys back offensively, so I figured our hitting would be ahead of our pitching, especially early in the season.”
Not that the pitching was far behind. Brady Miller started and went three innings, allowing a run on two hits, while striking out four. Keegan Bates threw the next three innings, allowing a run on three hits and fanning seven. In the seventh, Cerrato struggled with his control and walked in a run before giving way to Harrison Pfeifer, who struck out the final two batters of the game.
“Our first two guys threw pretty well,” Darlington said. “Nick was our closer pretty much all of last year, but he didn’t have his control today. He will be fine. It was nice to see Harrison come in and throw strikes in the situation he was in.”
The Tigers roughed up Morris starter Jacob Overbeck for eight runs in three innings, but Redskin reliever Michael Metesh threw two shutout innings after surrendering two runs in his first inning of work. Nathan Wantland also threw a shutout inning for Morris.
“We saw some good pitching today,” Morris coach Todd Kein said. “We know we are going to when we play Plainfield North, and that’s why we schedule this game every year. This is a team that will let you know where you need work.
“We had some of our older guys who were pressing a little bit, but now the opener’s over, and those jitters will be gone. We had some good at-bats, and we were able to put some runs up. We have had some years against this team that we come away being shut out with one hit.
“Defensively, I was very happy with how we played. We definitely looked like an experienced team on defense. I am taking away more positives from this game than negatives.”
Tyler Dunne had an RBI single for the Redskins, while Patrick McCabe drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. Jared Lines had an RBI with a bases-loaded walk, and the fourth Morris run scored when Danny Borgstrom reached on an error.