BG's Run Hits 11
Maciaszek, Marty, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Marty Maciaszek Daily Herald Sports Writer
Nate Johnson and Chris Sajdak look like big boppers rather than base-stealing or bunting threats at 6-foot, 215 pounds.
But everybody, including the big guys, are doing the little things at Buffalo Grove this season. Throw in solid pitching and defense and it adds up to a hot streak and a surprising start.
The Bison made the most of 4 hits and played flawless defense as Nick Gord got a complete-game 4-2 victory in Wednesday's Mid- Suburban East first-place showdown with visiting Prospect.
"We're playing small-ball and it's working right now," said Johnson, who had an RBI single, a sacrifice fly and a stolen base. "We're on a nice little streak and we want to keep rolling.
"We want to keep the momentum and keep the pressure on."
That little winning streak is now at 11 games for the Bison (13- 2, 4-0) even though Prospect (13-2, 3-1) had 7 hits and a second- inning solo homer by Rick Horvath.
BG had only 2 hits going into the sixth when Chris Pietroski led off with a double and scored his third run on a single by Brett Karol (2-for-2).
Karol also had a sacrifice to set up a 2-run second and Sajdak, the No. 5 hitter, dropped bunts that led to the final 2 runs.
"The main thing is execution - that's the key to our team right now," Johnson said. "We're bunting with the 3-4-5 hitters and getting the job done."
Johnson followed his tying RBI single to right in the second inning with a straight steal of second base. When the throw went into center field, Sajdak came in from third for a 2-1 lead.
"They're usually surprised," Johnson said of his second straight steal of the spring. "Usually it's a delayed steal to catch them off guard."
Prospect catcher Paul Johansson threw out three runners trying to steal and the Bison had another runner out trying to take second on Johnson's sacrifice fly. But it's not going to slow them down.
"We're going to move and we'll keep going," said BG coach John Wendell. "We've got to make things happen and get people to third to score. The kids have done a great job of executing."
Gord allowed only 1 walk and had 4 strikeouts as he threw 56 of his 92 pitches for strikes. He also picked a runner off, right fielder Kevin Love doubled a runner off first and shortstop Matt Kurnick and second baseman Alex Murman turned a double play to end the fourth.
Prospect got its other run on George Smith's sacrifice fly in the seventh.
"When you play in meaningful division games it's little things that matter," Prospect coach Ross Giusti said after his team committed 3 errors and gave up 2 unearned runs. "I feel confident with our ability and I know our kids will turn it around."
Schaumburg 15, Conant 5: Schaumburg senior John McGowan has seen better days on the mound, but he would be hard pressed to remember a better one at the plate.
McGowan launched home runs in consecutive innings, including a decisive grand slam in the fourth, to cap his 3-for-4, 6-RBI day and lead the Saxons to a 15-5 MSL West win over Conant in five innings.
"With the bases loaded, I was just hoping to get the ball in the air and get a sacrifice fly," said McGowan, who did a lot more than that, sending a line drive over the 340-foot sign in left-center field to stretch Schaumburg's lead to 9-4. "I knew I got a good piece of it."
McGowan's grand slam came on the last pitch thrown by Conant ace Greg Zbrzezny (4-1), who was tagged by a potent Saxons' attack for an uncharacteristic 9 runs (5 earned) on 8 hits in 3 innings.
"We knew we were going to see their best pitcher, and we knew we had to be up for it," said McGowan, who added a 2-run homer to right in the fifth. …