GARY | Morton's Chris McCormack proved that executing well on risky plays can pay off in the long run.
McCormack drilled his fourth hit of the game in the seventh inning against Gavit, stretching his double into a triple, sliding in just ahead of the tag. Teammate Brandon Valentine then hit a sacrifice fly to score McCormack, and the Governors held on for a 6-5 win over the Gladiators in the RailCats High School Challenge.
"I feel good, I'm just glad we all got out of our slump," McCormack said. "This is really big. It's good to start off 1-0 in (the Great Lakes Athletic Conference)."
Morton coach Scott Lush knew sending McCormack would be a risk.
"I took a chance with Chris stretching that out," he said. "It was late in the game and we knew we had to take a chance. He made a great slide on the play. The slide was what made it there. He had such a great game."
Valentine would end up with three RBIs, ending his own personal slump at the plate.
"I was just trying to drive the ball and hit the ball hard, and look for my pitches early in the count," he said. "I've been in a little bit of a slump, and I tried to break out of that today."
With the Gladiators down 5-1 in the fifth inning, they plated four runs on one hit, taking advantage of some wildness from Morton pitcher DJ Griffin, who walked two and hit a batter in the inning.
However, Aurelio Cazares came in to relieve Griffin and struck out four batters without allowing a hit to end the final 2 1/3 innings.
"He's got a breaking pitch -- a 6-9 curveball that's pretty unhittable, and he got some of their best hitters out," Lush said. "We're looking for big things out of him."
After two scoreless innings to begin the game for both teams, Morton (2-4, 1-0 GLAC) erupted for a five run third inning, sending 10 batters to the plate. Valentine's two-run single drove in McCormack and Jesse Escamillia.
Gavit's Pat Giglio had the Gladiators' lone RBI on a fifth inning sacrifice fly.
"I want the kids to know that no matter how far down they get, they can always come back," Gavit coach Tony Harris said. "No matter how bad they're doing, they can always climb out of it."