Baseball: Oak Forest takes out its frustration on Bremen
By Pat Disabato firstname.lastname@example.org April 2, 2013 8:58PM
Mike Owens, of Oak Forest, drives in a run against Bremen. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 4, 2013 6:28AM
After watching his team score three runs in its previous three games — all losses — Oak Forest coach Thad Gatton was searching for something to kick-start his offense.
Bremen proved to be the perfect medicine to the Bengals ailing offense.
Tom Zale, Brian Richard, Tom Livingston and Kevin Johnson combined for 10 of Oak Forest’s 12 hits during Tuesday’s 13-3 clubbing of visiting Bremen in a South Suburban tilt that lasted six innings.
Zale (3-for-3, walk, 3 runs, 2 RBI) and Richard (2-for-2, 2 walks, 3 runs) reached base in all eight of their combined plate appearances.
Livingston was 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI and Johnson (2-for-3, 2 walks) reached base four times. Dan Hlad added a three-run double and Colton Charbonneau drove in three runs for the Bengals.
“We’ve been struggling with the bat,” said Gatton, whose Bengals improved to 2-3. “We needed to get some confidence going. This should help us.”
The win marked the 40th time in the past 41 games the Bengals have defeated the Braves, including the last seven in a row.
Bremen last defeated Oak Forest in 2010, by a 6-4 count.
“We have to change the culture,” Bremen coach Mike Cline said. “We’ve been working at it. But there’s just something about Oak Forest we haven’t been able to get over.”
The game started well enough for Bremen, which scored two runs in the top of the first against Richard.
Oak Forest countered with four runs in its half of the inning and two more in the second to grab a 6-2 lead against pitcher Tyler Banovich.
“What I’m most proud of is that we got punched in the mouth right away and came back with four runs,” Gatton said. “To come back right away like that shows character.”
The Braves had two golden chances to put a dent in their deficit, first loading the bases with no outs in the fourth and putting two runners on with no outs in the fifth. All they could generate was one run, cutting the gap to 6-3.
“The fourth inning was a killer,” Cline said.
Banovich (2-for-4, RBI), Kyle Ramos (1-for-3, RBI) and Shamari Warner (2-for-3) starred for Bremen (5-2), which stranded nine runners on the day.
Richard allowed three runs over five innings, scattering seven hits and striking out 10 — seven looking.
Zale, who has platooned at third base, will stay in the lineup with performances like Tuesday.
“There are a lot of good players on the team, so it’s tough to get into the lineup on a daily basis,” said Zale, a three-sport athlete. “I had my opportunity and tried to do my best.”