While the Riverside-Brookfield High School baseball team unquestionably has individually talented players, head coach Dallas Till has always believed the Bulldogs’ sum is greater than its parts.
In other words, RBHS isn’t going anywhere without playing fundamental, team-oriented baseball.
That winning formula was on full display Saturday at Ehlert Park in Brookfield during the Bulldogs’ thrilling 5-4 victory in 10 innings against Oswego.
Tied at 4-all in the 10th inning, RBHS junior outfielder Howie Hatton singled to right-center to start off the Bulldogs’ decisive frame. Hatton advanced to third base on a stolen base and throwing error by the Oswego shortstop. Senior third baseman Asher Runyan-Randruut had the game-winning RBI on a sacrifice fly to center field scoring Hatton.
“There were a ton of great plays today,” Till said. “This game was filled with great baseball plays. We were fortunate to come out on top against a great baseball club.”
Several players contributed for the Bulldogs (8-3-1), including junior Jarod Turina (3-for-3, RBI), sophomore first baseman Ryan Cermak (2-for-2, RBI) and Runyan-Randruut (2-for-3, RBI).
Turina pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on four hits while striking out four and walking two.
“I was feeling pretty confident,” Turina said. “In the past, Oswego has been a really tough competitor so to finally get a win against them felt really good.”
With the Bulldogs trailing 3-2 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning, freshman catcher Mike Schicker started a rally with a one-out single. With two outs, Turina drilled a double to score courtesy runner Casey Vileta from first and tie the game 3-3. Cermak followed with a single to right field that scored Turina to give the Bulldogs a 4-3 advantage.
Oswego tied the game at 4-all in the sixth. RBHS senior pitcher Sammy Habayeb worked 3 2/3 of scoreless relief scoreless before winning pitcher Austin Holin came in the 10th to finish out the game.
“Composure was a huge key for us today,” Turina said. “You don’t want to get ahead of yourself especially if you’re having a good day. You can’t get too low or too high.”
There have been more ups then downs for the Bulldogs this season. Although back-to-back losses against Illiana Christian and Aurora Central Catholic hurt earlier this month, RBHS bounced back with a 4-2 win over ACC on April 12 and maintained momentum with Saturday’s win over Oswego.
“We started out pretty well this season,” Turina said. “We went down a little bit but we came back strong in our past couple of games. It feels great.”