CALUMET CITY — After being thumped 17-5 Monday by Rich Central, T. F. North's Meteors faced one question:
Were they the largely unscathed team they had been over the first three games and four innings of the season, or were they the shoddy outfit that saw a lead turn into a rout over three unfortunate frames?
"I'm going to ask my teammates that," Meteors starting pitcher Zachary Turner said. "We came out thinking we were pretty good — but we knew those guys were good."
Both the Meteors and Rich Central entered the game at 3-0. When T.F. North got off to a 5-0 lead through two innings, the squads' 2012 records (Rich Central was 23-11, North 18-19) might have seemed like ancient history.
Of course, North benefited from four walks, two errors and three wild pitches while grabbing that lead. Turner had a pair of singles and two RBIs, and Bill Wilson scored twice amid all the Olympians' generosity.
"Early, I did pretty well — I stayed down and hard," Turner said. "But that one inning, I left that nice meat shot over the plate and he got me."
"He" would be Central's Matt Cole — and Cole has been getting just about everyone.
The Alcorn State recruit went 3-for-4 with five RBIs, three of those on home run laser to left off Turner's "meat shot." The line drive carried on the fly to the fence surrounding North's tennis courts, some 20 feet beyond the outfield fence.
"This is Matt's fourth year on the varsity," Rich Central coach Corey Stallings said. "He hit .480 last year. He's definitely been doing the job — and he's been tearing it up this year."
Cole is hitting .667 (10-for-15) with 2 homers and 17 RBIs through the Olympians' first four games. Yet, their own gloves did as much damage to the Meteors as Cole's bat.
With the scored tied 5-5 in the sixth, consecutive errors at short opened the floodgates to a six-run Olympians rally. Three more errors contributed to another six-run frame in the seventh.
"In the sixth, we pull the infield in, get a grounder, we boot the ball, then we get a double-play ball and boot it again," North coach Mike Kosiara said. "The pitcher did his job. We had the plays we should have made."