DOLTON -- Thornwood let Ryan Banas off the hook early, but not late.
Held hitless for three innings, the Thunderbirds broke loose in the fourth
and went on to earn an 8-0 SICA East baseball win Wednesday afternoon.
Wally Widelski (6-1) pitched a three-hitter as Times' top-ranked Thornwood
(26-3, 10-1) stretched its winning streak to 15 games and clinched sole
possession of the conference title.
Banas (0-5) walked the bases loaded in the first inning, but did not allow a
run. He went on to retire eight straight T'birds before Rob Pelino doubled to
the fence in left-center with one out in the fourth.
"We had a situation at the beginning of the ball game when we should have
broken it open," Thornwood coach John Dunlop said.
"That was a big confidence-builder," Thornridge coach Bill Hardlannert said
of Thornwood's failure to score in the first.
Pelino's double seemed to serve the same purpose for the T'birds.
"The big hit was probably Rob's double," Dunlop said. "Then we started to
Bernie Pedersoli's perfectly executed hit-and-run single to left drove in
Pelino with the only run Widelski would need.
Jason Huisman's line single to center in the fifth drove in Kevin Ginley and
John Pals for a 3-0 Thornwood lead.
Chris Powell's bad-hop single over the head of shortstop Mike Steele scored
Pelino in the sixth, making it 4-0.
Pelino and Eric Schultz added two-run singles in the seventh to put the game
For the game, Pelino was 2-for-2 with two walks, three runs scored and two
RBI. Pals was 2-for-3 and scored twice.
"Of late, he's been doing much, much better," Dunlop said of Pelino,
Thornwood's No. 5 hitter.
Widelski, a Notre Dame-bound lefthander, has been equally solid in recent
"I think he did a nice job," Dunlop said. "He mixed his pitches well.
He's done that the last four or five outings."
Widelski retired the first 10 Falcons before Scott Budeselich beat out a
bunt. Singles by Lionel Charleston, Banas and Hector Terrazas in the fifth,
sixth and seventh, respectively, accounted for Thornridge's other baserunners.
The lack of offense was nothing new for Thornridge. "It's been our bugaboo
all year," Hardlannert said. "So was defense, but I thought we played pretty
good defense today."
Still, it wasn't enough to stop Thornwood.
SCORING BY INNINGS
THORNWOOD 000 121 4_8 10 0
THORNRIDGE 000 000 0_0 4 1
2B _ Rob Pelino (Tw).
Wally Widelski (Tw) and Bernie Pedersoli, Randy Kouba (7). Ryan Banas (Tr),
Willie Ross (7) and Mark Sawicki. SO _ Widelski 10; Banas 6, Ross 0. BB _
Widelski 0; Banas 5, Ross 2. WP _ Widelski (6-1). LP _ Banas (0-5).