Potters sweep Washington

Bryan Veginski
Morton senior David Rossi shut out Washington for six-plus innings April 22 in a 4-0 Mid-Illini Conference baseball win under the lights at Brian Wisher Field. The Potters started week five with a 5-2 league record.

The Morton baseball team earned one of its biggest victories of the season April 22.

Not only did the Potters halt a losing skid at three games, they also stayed in the Mid-Illini Conference race.

Morton won, 4-0, at Brian Wisher Field against a Washington team that lost just one of its first 12 games overall.

David Rossi threw six-plus innings of shutout baseball for the Potters. He allowed three walks and just three hits, while fanning nine.

"We needed a big performance by a big-time senior," MHS head coach Jesse Crawford said of Rossi. "That shows you what kind of competitor he is."

Jordan Wanner got the final three outs for Morton. The key pitch he made was inducing a groundball with two on and no outs that turned into a 4-3 double play.

Scoreless into the fifth inning, the Potters loaded the bases with one out after an error, a walk and a hit batsmen.

Wanner came through with an RBI single to left field.

In the bottom half, an error, single and wild pitch set up Washington with baserunners at second and third with no outs.

Rossi struck out two straight hitters with the infield drawn in, the first one looking on a full count.

A 6-3 groundout on a close play at first base ended the Panther threat with the score intact at 1-0.

"He did an excellent job," Washington head coach Kyle Wisher said of Rossi. "He kept us off balance. We struggled all night against him."

Jack Compton began the top of the sixth with his second single.

After Nick Monferdini was plunked, the third hit-by-pitch by Panther starter Tanner Smith, Compton scored all the way from second on a hustle play during a Rossi sacrifice.

He was sent back to third base, however, by the umpire, who made an interference call down the first-base line.

The importance of that ruling was diminished considerably when Morton's Cole McDonald hammered a two-run double to left-center field to make it 3-0.

That deep drive chased Smith, who eventually was saddled with the loss.

The Panthers sent the tying run to the plate in the home half of the sixth with two outs, but Rossi registered his final strikeout.

The Potters added to their lead in the seventh inning when Jake Morsch reached on an infield single, stole second and went to third on a wild pitch.

With one out, Nick Monferdini lifted a would-be sacrifice fly to left that was dropped for an error, sending home Morton's fourth run.

A pop up to third base by Washington after reliever Wanner got the key twin killing completed the Potters' third conference shutout.

"We're just grinding out wins. This was a good win for us," said Crawford.

MHS 7, Washington 4

The Potters finished off the sweep of the Panthers April 24.

Playing its fourth conference game in five days did not deter Morton, which improved to 5-2 in the M-I.

The Potters scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth at Morton Community Baseball Stadium to gain a 6-0 lead.

They then held on after Washington produced four runs in the fifth.

Morsch was 2-for-3 with two RBI, while Compton doubled and drove in two runs for Morton, which solidified its third-place league standing.

Joel Sauder also had two hits, and Rossi, McDonald and Jake Starkey collected RBI.

Wanner struck out five and walked two in a complete game for his third conference victory.

Illinois Valley Central 3-5, MHS 1-4

The Grey Ghosts swept a Thursday non-conference twin bill.

Wanner doubled and drove in a run in the opener.

McDonald took the loss. Corey Dullard came on in relief. Neither pitcher walked a batter.

IVC never trailed after a two-run second.

The Ghosts broke out of a 3-3 tie in Chillicothe with two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning of the second game.

Rossi was 3-for-4 and Compton doubled twice. Both had an RBI.

Monferdini also knocked in a run for Morton, which outhit IVC, 8-3, in the nightcap.

Nick Taylor, hurt by six walks, was dealt the loss on the hill. Monferdini finished up, beginning in the third.

The duo combined for six strikeouts.

MHS 9-8, Lincoln 4-2

The Potters swept a Saturday home twin bill from the 14-win Railsplitters.

Morton (11-7) outhit Lincoln by a combined 25-11 in the two contests.

The Potters broke a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the sixth inning of the opener with five runs.

Compton was 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI.

Wanner was 3-for-3 with a double, while Monferdini, Drake McCleary and Starkey all had two hits.

Morsch, Monferdini and Zach Hoby knocked in runs.

In relief of McCleary, Compton was the winning pitcher.

All eight Morton runs in game two came in the second and third innings.

Compton was 3-for-4, while Wanner and Noah Peterson added two hits.

Wanner homered and supplied four RBI, upping his season total to 17.

Rossi, Peterson and Jared Liddle drove in runs as well in support of winning starter Ryan Basden. Donald chipped in a double.

Basden struck out three and walked three in a complete game.

Morton-Pekin, Part IV: The Potters and Dragons made their fourth attempt Tuesday to conclude their two-game series.

Morton won game one, 2-0, April 8.