CRETE | Perhaps the lousy spring weather has put a damper on some teams, but throughout, Crete-Monee has been hot.
The Warriors won their 11th and 12th games in a row Saturday, taking a doubleheader from Beecher, 9-3 and 12-6. In his 29 seasons, coach Gene Cahan said he couldn't recall another dozen-game win streak.
"I can't remember an 11-gamer, to be honest," he said.
The pile of wins tells only half the story for the Warriors (14-3), who have won 14 of 15 since dropping their first two games of the season. Their offense has been prodigious, posting a combined 54 runs in just their last four games.
"We're hitting like .370 as a team right now," Cahan said. "I thought our strength would be our pitching."
In Game 1, it was. Craig Quick (4-1) struck out 10 and scattered five hits over seven innings to earn the win. No. 3 hitter Malik McNeal paced the offense with a home run, double, three RBIs and three runs in four trips, but it was mere prelude to what the top of the Crete-Monee lineup would do in Game 2.
Leadoff hitter Chris Cockle, No. 2 hitter Cameron Bass and McNeal combined to go 12-for-13 with eight runs and six RBIs. Cockle (5-for-5, four runs) and McNeal (4-for-4, three RBIs) each homered.
"Get ahead, attack early, hit your pitch, don't be too selective, and sit on the fastball," McNeal said, describing his plate approach. "I was just in the zone today."
Cockle, a pitcher-center fielder and three-year varsity starter, is hitting .517 on the season.
"What Cockle is doing is crazy," Cahan said. "Those top three are my best hitters, and if you would have asked me to rank them at the beginning of the season, I would have said Bass was No. 1. Now, it'd have to be Cockle."
Cockle has a team-high 25 runs, along with four homers, eight doubles and two triples. Bass (.400 average) and McNeal (.429) share the team lead with 23 RBIs.
"We're all good hitters," Cockle said. "We're just playing good baseball. We believe in each other. We have very good team chemistry."
Beecher (8-9) is reeling by comparison, having lost three straight. Chase Wyatt was their leader with three hits in five trips, while Devin Mahnke had a homer and scored three runs in Game 2.
"We lost (Friday) to Illinois Lutheran, and I think that took some of our mental focus away," Bobcats coach Brandon DuBois said. "That was a huge game for our conference.
"Some of the guys came out a little, I don't want to say jet-lagged, but behind the 8-ball."