Freeport baseball team gets welcome relief in win over Deer Lakes
With inherited runners at first and second base, Freeport sophomore Nathan Pastorek put himself in an even tougher spot Monday afternoon when, as a relief pitcher, he hit the first Deer Lakes batter he faced during the top of the third inning.
Pastorek's pitching gem emerged from that early pressure, though.
A hit batsman was the only flaw on the day for Pastorek, who held Deer Lakes hitless over the final 3 2⁄3 innings of Freeport's 13-2 mercy-rule win. He finished with four strikeouts and no walks, and he also hit a two-run single in the bottom of the sixth to put the 10-run rule into effect.
The game started in the bottom of the first, as it was a continuation of a rain-ruined contest that started April 14. With the win, Freeport (6-4, 6-1) extended its lead in the Section 3-AA standings over defending champ Deer Lakes (7-4, 4-2).
“It was a tough situation (in the top of the third), but I made the pitches I had to make to get out of that inning without giving up a run,” said Pastorek, who replaced Matt VanTine. “(Deer Lakes) is always a good team. I was just glad to go out there and make my pitches. I had good command and good speed on the fastball.”
Pastorek struck out two after he plunked Zach Hudicek, Deer Lakes' last baserunner in the game.
Down 2-1 at the time, Freeport seized the momentum established by Pastorek's clutch play. Brendon Zack tripled and scored in the bottom of the third inning to tie the game.
Hoping its defense might deliver its own lockdown moment in the bottom of the fifth, Deer Lakes intentionally walked Matt Swartz to load the bases with one out.
That decision backfired.
A mishandled grounder allowed Hunter Fennell to score the game-deciding run. Josh Beale followed with a two-run single to left field. A wayward pickoff throw toward first base led to another Freeport run.
“With a team that hits like that, you have to make the plays in the field and throw strikes,” Deer Lakes coach Jon Pedrosky said. “It was just one of those days where we didn't make the plays, and they made every play and found every hole. It was their day today.”
By the end of the fifth inning, Freeport led 7-2. The sixth inning brought more of the same for both teams.
“I actually didn't know if I gave up a hit,” Pastorek said. “I asked one of my teammates just before the last inning if I did. I was just focused on the game.”
Freeport finished with a 10-3 edge in hits.
“I thought (the game) would go more the way it went for the first few innings,” Freeport coach Chris Graczyk said. “Hard-fought runs on both sides, that's what I expected the whole game, so to do what we did, that was not in my realm of thinking. Good things happen when you put the ball in play.”