Chaparrals Overcome Early Mistakes For Win


Carlos Peterson, Sports Editor

Keeping errors to a minimum is one of the many demands of a baseball coach. Unfortunately for our Chaparral baseball team on Thursday, mistakes were made early and often. In what was the second game of a double header, the DuPage baseball team looked to bounce back from a tough 5-4 loss in their first game of the day.

Opening up with back-to-back walks in the first inning, freshman pitcher Jake Heyman struggled to find his rhythm in the early going, giving up two cheap runs in the top half of the first inning. Despite making hard contact against the McHenry pitching, Dupage just couldn’t seem to find the gaps in the defense. However, the offense would not be held down for long

The third inning was the beginning of an offensive explosion from the Chaparrals. Working for their pitches and making great contact, the offense feasted on the mistakes of McHenry pitcher, Johnny Sanchez, who seemingly could not catch a break.

Head Coach Kevin Tyrrell felt his players did a good job of letting the pitches come to them. “Our guys did a nice job of putting pitches in play and forcing tough plays and working for walks,” said Tyrell of the offensive onslaught in the third. The four run inning was started by hits that got runners on 1st and 2nd, getting hits on four straight at bats.

While the offense of the Chaparrals seemed to be growing stronger with each at bat, McHenry seemed to be struggling to put together any semblance of an offense post first inning. As the game wore on, the early struggles of Heyman seemed to be the only source of offense for McHenry. Tyrell thought very highly of the resilience displayed by his young pitcher.

“Our pitching got stronger. He had a terrible first inning, giving up three runs which were a direct result of walks. He realized early on if he walked guys he wasn’t going to be in very long,” said Tyrell of his freshman pitcher.

Heyman was very pleased with his performance as well, being able to find a rhythm in the earlier innings and hitting his spots at the plate after some struggles. Something that Heyman found especially important was being able to have his mechanics stay precise. While he felt that it was a struggle early in the game, a demanding attitude from his coach gave him the motivation he needed.

“At the beginning there was a little bit of struggle. I felt like I was dropping my arm a little more. My coach told me to pick it up, and then I started to pitch better,” Heyman said.

As a young pitcher, the best thing that can be done to reassure confidence is to get run support from your offense. The Chaparral offense would then go on to score five more runs in the later innings. Heyman said, “It feels amazing. There’s no pressure. It gets easy.”

While the Chaparral staff did a great job of asserting itself, limiting the McHenry offense to only one run the rest of the game, the offense seemingly never stopped hitting. The fifth inning was full of contact and opportunity for the DuPage hitters adding another three runs to the board despite being stuck in some deeper counts.

“Our team does a great job of making sure we don’t strike out,” Tyrell said. So even when we’re down 0-2 our guys hate striking out. It’s a pride thing. They’re very good at letting the ball get deep and if it’s close we’re gonna get a piece of it.”

The Chaparrals did a nice job of closing out their double header with a strong all around performance. The pitching was able to get outs and the offense was able to make the opposition miserable. All in a day’s work for a team that has had it’s share of winning on the back end of double headers.