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Baseball: Richards outlasts Shepard

Updated: April 22, 2014 9:27PM



Richards coach Brian Wujcik was cautiously optimistic entering the season.

However, even he’s surprised at the level of success his team is achieving.

Richards made it 12 wins in its last 13 games Tuesday after downing visiting Shepard 7-4 in a South Suburban crossover.

Whereas Monday the Bulldogs (13-3, 8-0) lashed out 17 hits during a 17-5 win over the Astros (5-8, 3-5), Wujcik’s squad capitalized on some sloppiness by Shepard to post Tuesday’s win.

“We tried to the tell the guys that today’s a different day,” Wujcik said. “It’s a different field, a different pitcher, different weather conditions. We have to have a different game plan.”

Shepard grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning against Richards pitcher Ryan Thompson. Kevin Knoerzer (2-for-2, 2 walks) started the game with a walk, stole second and scored on a Richards error.

The Bulldogs responded in their half of the second by scoring five runs despite recording just one hit. A combination of two batters being hit by pitches, three walks and an error greatly accounted for a big inning.

The lone hit came off the bat of Shawn Chiaramonte, whose single up the middle scored two runs that made it 5-1.

“We’ve shown a good approach at the plate and the defense is making plays,” Chiaramonte said of the Bulldogs’ success. “We didn’t get much attention before the season and that’s motivated us.”

Other than eventful inning, Shepard pitcher Brett Smith pretty much held the Bulldogs in check.

The Astros closed to within 5-2 in the fourth on an RBI single by Ken Gorski.

The Bulldogs tacked on two insurance runs in the sixth. Shane Mills stroked a leadoff double, which ended Smith’s day on the mound, and scored on a Shepard error to make it 6-2. Charlie Zeschke’s single up the middle scored another run for a 7-2 advantage.

Shepard mounted a rally in the seventh. Sam Hermanas doubled and scored on back-to-back singles by Knoerzer and Eric Horbach to cut the margin to 7-3. Kevin Carmody greeted reliever Nick Mejia with a single to drive in another run and make it 7-4. When Bobby Peterka coaxed a two-out walk to put two runners on base, Shepard had the potential tying run at the plate. Mejia, however, struck out Smith to end the game.

“We can’t make the excuse of inexperience anymore,” Shepard coach Frank DiFoggio said. “We’re finding different ways to lose instead of finding ways to win.”

Thompson allowed four runs on seven hits, walked three and struck out four to record the win.

Richards’ Noel Castro reached base three times, registering a pair of singles and hit by a pitch.



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