There’s one thing Lake Zurich would like to do as they play out the season over the next few weeks: beat as many North Suburban Conference foes as possible. On Tuesday, in a home contest against rival Stevenson, they seemed to be headed in that direction, until an ugly fifth inning saw them surrender a 2-0 lead, as starting pitcher Ben Gullo was knocked out after giving up four runs.
“We should have won the game 4-1,” said Bears Coach Gary Simon. “We outhit them 11-5, for crying out loud.”
“I hate losing that way,” added Assistant Coach Larry Lewis.
Lake Zurich picked up a run in the bottom of the first, playing some solid small ball. Zach Till led off with a bloop single over the right side of the infield. John Orlando’s grounder moved Till to second, and Parker Asmann then reached on a ground ball error, advancing Till to third. Mike Schnur was then safe on a fielder’s choice, scoring Till.
Ben Gullo was strong in the early going, picking up a strikeout in the first, and two more in the second when he fanned Ricky Kern and Anthony D’Angelo. The Patriots went down one-two-three in the third, as Michael Martin struck out to end the inning for Gullo’s fourth strikeout.
“Ben looked good the first few innings,” said Simon. “It was just the fifth inning that things fell apart. And we had four errors - that’ll kill you.”
Lake Zurich picked up another run in the third when Orlando lined a one-out double deep into the right-center gap. Asmann flied out to left, moving Orlando to third. After Schnur walked, he drew a throw from catcher Steve Galanopoulos, which allowed Orlando to steal home in a perfectly executed double steal.
In the fourth, Gullo got himself into trouble when he walked Jacob Sholl and Max Golembo after fanning Adam Walton to start the inning. However, he then struck out Kern and induced Galanopoulos to pop to stymie the threat.
The Bears threatened in the fourth when Sean Eder lined a shot over second base for a one-out single. After Steve Kuhn struck out, Jacob LaRue slashed a single up the middle, but Till grounded out to end the threat.
In the Patriots' four-run rally in the fifth, D’Angelo led off with an infield single, which was followed by a two-run home run by Brandon Waters to right-center, tying the score at two apiece.
Martin then walked and stole second. Jack Karras grounded out, moving Martin over to third. He scored moments later when Walton reached on an error. Walton promptly stole second and third. After Sholl walked, Golembo drove in Walton with a single to right. After Gullo hit Kern with a pitch, he was relieved by Asmann, who stopped any more damage.
The Bears tied the score in the bottom of the fifth, however. Asmann doubled deep to left-center with one out. Schnur singled through the left side of the infield, scoring Asmann, but was then thrown out trying to stretch it to a double. After Jeremy Reusch doubled deep to right-center, he was driven in when Mark Dorfman lined a single sharply down the third base line.
Stevenson came right back with the game-winning run in the top of the sixth, a rally that began with two outs. Waters beat out a single to shortstop, which pulled first baseman Schnur off the bag. When he stole second, he kept going to third when the catcher Reusch momentarily lost track of the ball. Karras then singled past first, driving in Waters in what turned out to be the winning run.
Lake Zurich didn’t go down without a fight in their half of the seventh. Asmann beat out a hit when Walton bobbled the ball. Tyler Radtke then relieved Patriots starter Dalsen Ferbert, who immediately gave up a single to Schnur past the pitcher’s outstretched arm. But Schnur was caught leaning and picked off first base for the second out. Reusch then grounded out to end the game.
“We kept battling. I like what I saw,” said Simon. “A lot of other teams would have folded, but we kept fighting back. I think that’s a really good sign.”
Bears Pause: Ben Gullo pitched 4-1/3 innings, giving up 4 runs on 5 hits. He struck out six and walked four. Parker Asmann pitched 2-2/3 innings, giving up the other run. Mike Schnur went 3-for-3 with a walk and two RBI. All three hits were singles.
Next Up: The Bears play Stevenson May 11 in Lincolnshire at 4:30 p.m., and then play at Lake Park High School May 12 at 4:30. At 10 a.m. May 14, they host Rolling Meadows in a morning game.