MINOOKA – Under sunny skies Tuesday, Minooka welcomed nonconference rival Morris. Just off their thrilling, 8-5, come-from behind victory over Bradley-Bourbonnais on Saturday, the Redskins were looking to remain undefeated.
Minooka senior southpaw Tyler Talbot and Indians multi-sports star Jon Butler had other ideas.
Talbot (1-0) fired four hitless innings with nine strikeouts, while Butler went 3 for 3 with a pair of RBIs, leading the Indians to a 8-0 victory.
Minooka senior southpaw Devin Smith fired two scoreless innings in relief, allowing a hit to Redskins leadoff man Payton Voitik, while striking out two. Butler closed out the game with a 1-2-3 seventh, with two strikeouts, to complete the combined one-hit shutout of Morris (1-1). Indians pitchers struck out 13 in all.
Minooka (1-0) picked up an unearned run in the first inning against Morris starting pitcher Dawson Moore, who went four innings.
A double steal of home and second base from Minooka’s Jackson Shepherd (1 for 2) and Grant Olson (1 for 3), highlighted a three-run Indian second inning. Shepard and Olson singled, putting Indian runners on first and third with Nick Airola at the plate. Olson took off for second and when the throw went to second. Shepherd streaked home, completing the double steal. Airola singled home Olson. A Hayden Laczynski groundout scored Airola to make it 4-0.
Meanwhile, Talbot (1-0) was dealing.
“I had all my pitches working for me,” Talbot said. “I had a big strike zone and really took advantage of it. This was a great team win and we all played well and look forward to playing well against Andrew [Wednesday].”
After another Redskin miscue in the field, Butler ripped his third hit, driving home two runs for a 6-0 Minooka lead in the fourth.
“I pitched pretty well, but I made a couple of bad pitches that really hurt me,” Moore said. “This was just one loss and it hasn’t hurt our confidence a bit. I truly believe we have the talent and the team chemistry to have a big year.”
With two outs in the fifth, Voitik hit a soft liner over Indian second baseman Antonio Milazzo for the only Redskin to reach safely. In the sixth, Milazzo tied a record held by many when he retired all three Redskin batters on groundouts to second.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Indians picked up a pair of runs on a Deston Martin RBI double and an RBI single from Logan O’Brien. Butler went 1-2-3 in the seventh.
“I was able to get a number of good pitches to hit and hit them well,” Butler said. “This was a great way to start the season for the team and personally, too.”
For Morris (1-1), a home date with Herscher on Thursday awaits at 4:30 p.m.
“I thought Dawson [Moore] threw well for us today,” Morris coach Todd Kein said. ”He’s an up-and-coming kid and all he needs to be successful is innings.
“The unearned run we gave Minooka really had a bad effect on the kids. We made some easy plays hard and that hurt us. The Talbot kid is a quality pitcher but I felt we helped him out with our approach at the plate. I just wish we would have been more competitive against a great Minooka team.”
“This was a real special win for us today,” Petrovic said. “We played very well in all phases of our game. Tyler [Talbot] was outstanding on the mound and our two relief pitchers did equally as well. We really hit the ball today and even our bench had big hits.
“Jon Butler is a special player and more than that, a special person. I find it hard to understand why Jon is still unsigned. He is one of the hardest workers I have ever coached and truly has been a pleasure to have around.
“I truly enjoy coaching this group and I believe we are going to have a big year in 2017.”