Boy’s baseball upsets state champs


Junior Ryan Nelson launches the baseball with a swing versus Plainfield East on April 5. Photo courtesy of Ted Piton

Max Otero, Staff Reporter


Boy’s baseball battled Plainfield East on April 5, and the Tigers took their second win of the season 7-3. 

It marked their first game in nearly a week after adverse weather led to earlier game cancellations.   

Starting pitcher senior Brandon Bak shut down the 2021 Class 4A state champions with five straight scoreless innings to start the game.

“I just tried to approach the game with confidence and an attack mindset,” Bak said. “I thought that throughout the game I had all my pitches working and our defense made some key plays to keep them hitless.”

Bak would also score an RBI in the first to give the Tigers’ a 1-0 lead early. After a scoreless second and third inning, the Tigers’ exploded for five runs in the fourth, with RBIs from sophomore Joe Giuliano, sophomore Aiden Simmons, junior Ryan Nelson and senior Dylan Evans.

“At that point in the game, everything was going great,” Evans said. “We had all the momentum, and East was noticeably losing confidence.” 

In the  final inning, the Tigers were up 7-3, but East had bases loaded and only one out. Senior relief pitcher Ethan Fleming delivered  the end of the game with a ground ball that Giuliano and Nelson turned  into a double play.

“After getting into some early trouble, I stepped off the mound and tried to focus on executing everything that we have worked on at practice these past couple months,” Fleming said.

Bak was credited with the win, giving up three runs on five hits over six innings with six strikeouts.

“There was some pressure going into the game, and I just tried to stay within myself and work one pitch at a time,” Bak said. “Our team is playing really well right now, and we are looking to continue as division play starts this week.”

The Tigers’ felt a particular sense of satisfaction besting the state champions and delivering an impressive second victory of the season.

“We walked away with a win while beating the state champs and our rivals,” Evans said. “The energy that the crowd brought to the game was just insane. We’re very appreciative of our fans.”

Before the game, varsity head coach John Darlington had high expectations for his players after a previous 18-10 season in 2021.

“As long as we continue to work hard and play as a team, we will have another successful season,” Darlington said.