GARY | River Forest coach Mark Zimmerle knows his team is young and will take its licks throughout the season.
But Saturday night was a different story, as the Ingots battled back from four runs down to beat E.C. Central, 7-6, in the Railcats High School Challenge at The Steel Yard.
The Cardinals (1-5-1) jumped all over River Forest in the first inning, scoring four runs, as their first four hitters had base hits and the first three scored.
River Forest (2-3) fought back with four runs of its own in the top of the third, including an RBI single from center fielder Jason Temple and a two-RBI single from St. Joseph's recruit and catcher Tyler Hanson.
"We are really young, but we work and work and work," Zimmerle said. "We don't do certain things well, but our pitchers threw strikes."
Then in a wild ending to the third inning, E.C. loaded the bases with two out and all the runners tried stealing, but as Gilberto Ibarra slid in safely at home, Angelo Badillo was thrown out at third to end the inning.
After tying the game at 5 in the fourth, River Forest scored the go-ahead run in the sixth when freshman Chris Lauderback singled, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Jason Carver bases-loaded walk after E.C. pitcher Dario Ruiz was lifted from the game.
"On this team, no one gets counted up and I'm no better than anyone here," said Lauderback, who got the win and was 2-for-3 with a run. "We didn't look ahead and never gave up on any play."
Lauderback came in to pitch midway through the fourth when the game was tied. He allowed two hits and a run in his two-plus innings.
"Chris grew up today," Zimmerle said. "He threw strikes for us and scored a pivotal run. He's here now."
River Forest tacked on another run when Dexter Nalls scored on another bases-loaded walk.