The Morton College baseball team could be as high as the No. 2 seed when the Skyway Conference tournament begins today at Oakton Community College in Des Plaines.
Morton, winners of seven of its last eight games, is 10-13-1 overall and 8-3 in the Skyway Conference after a 4-2 win over Oakton Tuesday in Des Plaines. McHenry has one loss in the conference and Lake County is second with two losses. The two teams are slated to face each other this week. A McHenry win could give Morton the No. 2 seed and a bye. The final round is Sunday.
“They are confident going into the tournament,” Morton College coach Mike Huber said. ‘We’ve reeled off seven (conference) games in a row and we’re winning the close games.” Morton is winning the close games because of closer Tony Ketchmark and an offense that ranks second in the state in hitting (.363 average).
Ketchmark, a product of Riverside-Brookfield High School, earned his fifth save of the season Tuesday and is 3-0. “That’s what they need me to do,” Ketchmark said. “They said they needed me in relief so that’s what I have to do.” “Our defense is playing well and we feel confident giving the ball to Tony with a lead late in a game,” Huber said.
Morton lost twice to McHenry during the season and split with Lake County during its annual trip to Florida. Two of the three losses were by one run.
“Our hitting’s coming through for us and our arms are rested,” Huber said. “They feel they can beat anybody in the conference and after you get past everybody’s first and second pitchers, everybody’s even.
Tuesday, Mike Blanchard (1-4) pitched his best game of the season, striking out two in four innings of work before giving way to Ketchmark.
Vern Hatton’s RBI double in the third and Ken Mazurowski’s solo home run in the fourth forged a 2-2 tie heading into the fifth.
Hatton singled, Paul Jimenez doubled and Alan Reberski hit a two-run single, which proved to be the game-winner. The game and the second game of the scheduled doubleheader was called because of rain. The nightcap was scheduled for Wednesday, weather permitting.
[Daily Herald, by Jim O’Connell]