MARENGO – Marengo senior second baseman Brent Maney was forced to sit for a couple innings against Crystal Lake Central when his glasses just broke and fell to the ground.
With an assist from his father Pat, who hurried home for another pair of glasses, Maney returned to the game in time to get hit by a pitch, rip an RBI single and nail down the save for starting pitcher Justin Vogel.
Marengo played solid defense behind Vogel and used an opportunistic offense to subdue Crystal Lake Central, 5-2, in their nonconference baseball game Wednesday at Rod Poppe Fields.
Maney started the game at second base, but his glasses broke just as he was about to bat in the second inning.
“They just broke and fell off my head,” Maney said.
He did not miss his next at-bat and made the most of his third at-bat with an RBI single to right field that capped the scoring for the Indians (1-1).
“We had the momentum,” Maney said. “The bench was up there talking, we had the energy and we were pumped up to be out here, second game of the season, even though its 20, 30 degrees.”
Vogel executed a fairly uncomplicated game plan proficiently, throwing strikes and letting the defense and winds gusting at more than 15 mph do the rest.
Vogel did not strike out a batter and but allowed three hits and three walks.
“I just wanted to fill up the zone and let my defense to the work,” Vogel said. “The weather’s not too good and I knew the ball wasn’t flying far.”
Although Central scored one unearned run, Marengo (1-1) backed Vogel with mostly solid defense for its first win.
“That was exactly what we wanted from him,” Marengo coach Josh Maas said. “[Vogel] threw strikes and attacked hitters. Especially on a day like today, as a pitcher you should love it, wind blowing in and it’s cold. It’s going to be tough to hit.”
Maas was frustrated with Tuesday’s 10-2 loss to Rockford Christian, but was thrilled at the way the Indians rebounded Wednesday. Marengo scored three times in the bottom of the second without a hit.
Max Kunde and Hayden Simonson both came up with RBI ground balls with runners at third in that inning. In the fifth, Vogel and Brent Maney got Marengo’s only hits, Maney’s went for an RBI.
“We didn’t get many hits, but we had to work to get them,” Maas said. “It was those little things that we worked on every day, situational hitting and getting a good leadoff.”
Central’s Ian Koch and Justin Wagner held Marengo hitless for 4 1/3 innings, but four Tigers’ pitchers combined for seven walks as they fell to 1-3.
“The majority of the runs in our three losses are from walks,” Central coach Dan Badgley said. “The cold weather, both teams play in it … it’s frustrating to watch guys walk guys. The guys are playing hard, but when your pitchers are walking guys, you’re not going to win many games.”
Tanner Larkins and Robby Cormier both had singles as Central scored in the sixth inning.