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Hit by pitch forces in winning run for Villa Park in 12th inning
VILLA PARK – It’s not a league game anymore, but Friday’s contest between No. 9 El Dorado and Villa Park had many of the elements of a league championship game.
Dazzling plays in the field kept the game close. For six innings, the teams played with the score in a deadlock until, finally, the game came to a thrilling conclusion.
Pinch-hitter Daniel Otair was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the 12th, setting off a celebration by the Spartans over their 4-3 victory at Villa Park High.
Mark Van Skike doubled to lead off the 12th. Justin Mazzara beat out a bunt single and Brady Howell (two hits and two RBI) was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Otair was sent up to the plate, and he took a 2-0 pitch from Skyler McMillan (4-2) off his hip for the win.
“El Dorado’s a big contender in the Century Conference,” Spartans coach Chris Van Camp said. “The kids competed like men today. They’re first place in the Crestview (League), so we wanted to show them a little something.”
Jay Edwards held the Golden Hawks (13-7) scoreless over the final six innings. His first inning was his toughest, when he missed the strike zone with 10 straight pitches before inducing a double play to get out of the jam.
Edwards (1-0), the Villa Park closer, said he had nerves about being asked to pitch so many innings.
“It was definitely stressful, but I knew that I had the best defense behind me that I could possibly have,” he said. “I was just doing what they told me, throwing strikes and getting ground balls.”
Villa Park (15-4) leaned heavily on its defense. The first big play came in the fifth. Rob Diaz doubled in Steven Silvis to lift El Dorado to a 2-1 lead, but Spartans shortstop Alex Sosnowski cut down Derek Reilly at the plate to keep it a one-run game.
Sosnowski, who has committed to Tennessee, recorded 16 assists.
Van Camp called Van Skike “a vacuum at first (base).” The 6-3 senior routinely dug out balls in the dirt to help out his infielders.
“We just all come together (on defense),” Van Skike said. “It just transfers over to offense. You could see what happened there.”