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The Courier

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COD Baseball Knocks Out Oakton in First Postseason Game

In their first postseason game, the Chaparrals beat Oakton to advance in the playoffs.
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Rachel Wagner

After earning the right to host, the College of DuPage baseball team played their first game of the NJCAA Region 4 tournament on May 10 against Oakton College. The Chaparrals claimed victory over the Owls in March, and their first postseason game was no different. With a defense that kept the Owls hitless into the fifth inning and an offense that forced the slaughter rule, COD crushed Oakton 10-2 in seven innings.

“Overall this was probably one of the more complete games that we’ve played,” assistant coach Matt Gould said. “It couldn’t have come at a better time. The bats were hot. They were able to keep scoring. When you’re scoring almost every inning, it puts you at ease.”

Freshman pitcher A.J. McEneany pitches to an Oakton batter to strike him out. (Rachel Wagner)

Along with the consistent offense, Gould credited COD’s fielding for their success over Oakton.

“Our defense has been one of the things that has improved the most from the beginning of the season to now,” he said. “It was a very well-played ball game, but it’s already over. We’ve already moved on to whoever we’re going to end up facing [next].”

Freshman infielder Vinny Spotofora crushed a two-run home run, his first of the postseason, in the third inning. Including his dinger, Spotofora collected three hits in four at-bats. He scored two runs and recorded two RBIs. He said the Chaps silenced the Owls with their offensive abilities and are ready to keep winning postseason games.

“We’re fired up,” Spotofora said. “When we came out here, they were talking a lot of shit. We shut them up, and it felt amazing. It doesn’t matter who we play. We just need to come out here and play hard.”

Sophomore catcher Filip Milatovic also sent one out of the park, smacking a two-run home run of his own in the fourth inning. His first postseason home run was his lone hit and run on the day in four at-bats. He collected two RBIs. He said his confident demeanor after hitting the home run put more pressure on Oakton.

“I knew [that ball] was out,” Milatovic said. “I didn’t know if the wind was going to take it, but I saw it go out. I flipped [the bat] a little bit, just a little pimp job. [Oakton] was talking a lot, so I just had to give it back to them. I don’t think they were too happy about it, but it is what it is. I knew I hit it pretty well. I just did what I could.”

Freshman pitcher A.J. McEneany made his sixth start of the year and controlled Oakton on the mound. McEneany maintained a no-hitter through five and one-third innings, but allowed four hits and two runs. He threw three strikeouts and walked two batters. He recognized COD’s defensive talent as a contributing factor in his sixth win of the season.

Freshman outfielder Michael Morgan sprints home to score a run. (Rachel Wagner)

“If our defense plays how we played today, we can definitely go further,” McEneany said. “[Spotofora] coming up clutch in the first inning with two plays [from third base] gave me confidence throughout the whole game. We scored four [runs] in the third [inning], and we just kept on adding from there. As a pitcher, you have the utmost confidence in your team after that point.”

Freshman first baseman Mark Mennecke helped COD dominate on both sides of the ball. He secured four hits in four at-bats, two runs and two RBIs. From first base, Mennecke put out nine runners. He described how well he was seeing the ball and also credited the Chaparrals’ defense.

“The ball was looking like a beach ball out there,” Mennecke said. “When I put the bat on the ball, good things were happening. In the field, we had no errors, so we played really well on defense. When you’re not making errors in the field, you’re going to win a lot of ball games.”

The Chaparrals take on the Waubonsee Community College Chiefs, whom they swept in the regular season, in the next game of the NJCAA Region 4 Tournament at 12 p.m. on May 11 at the COD Baseball Field.

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