Oh, what a relief for Munster
By Dave Melton Post-Tribune correspondent April 6, 2011 11:12PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
MUNSTER — Four innings of scoreless relief from Munster senior Evan Sylvester helped turn a two-run Munster deficit into a 5-4 Mustangs victory over Valparaiso.
“(Munster Coach Bob Shinkan) always preaches that you have to be ready at any time,” said Sylvester, who made his first varsity pitching appearance in the game. “I wanted to keep it close. I was using my two-seamer that runs inside on their hands a little bit.”
With nearly a dozen MLB scouts on hand to watch Valparaiso starter Jerrick Suiter, it was Sylvester who stole the spotlight.
“When Evan came in, he went right after the hitters,” Shinkan said. “He doesn’t throw very hard, but he mixes up his pitches and he hits his spots very well.”
The game started out much differently, as the Vikings jumped on Munster starter Mike Poulos in the first inning. With the bases loaded, Valparaiso’s Joe Gallinati flipped a single into right field, scoring a pair of runs.
The Vikings had no trouble getting runners on base, drawing 10 walks in the contest.
“I like the fact that we have guys that can be patient, get on base and then move around the base path,” said Valparaiso coach Dave Coyle. “But our bats went a little cold in the middle innings and we made some errors that hurt us.”
Three hits in the bottom of the third inning led to two Munster runs, including one on an RBI double by catcher Colin Mudroncik.
Trailing 4-3 in the fourth inning, Munster’s leadoff hitter Jim Hinkleman was hit by a pitch and later came around to score. The same scenario unfolded in the next inning, with Nate Eagan turning a leadoff hit-by-pitch into the game-winning run.
“You try to take advantage of things, any way possible,” Shinkan said. “I was really happy with the way we were able to get our leadoff man on base and then our execution on sacrifice bunts and base running. That’s baseball.”
Valparaiso threatened to tie the game in the seventh, when John Olejniczak led off with a walk.
Coyle dialed up a hit-and-run, and Gallinati delivered with a single through the left side. But Olejniczak was thrown out on his way to third base. Sylvester then retired the next two Valparaiso hitters to end the game.