From the moment Patrick Bellinger stepped on the mound to pitch in the first inning, it was clear that he was in command. After retiring the Snipes in order, while also accumulating two strikeouts, Bellinger got into a groove that could not be stopped. Behind his arm, the DuPage Hounds (22-9) cruised to a 4-0 victory over the Lexington Snipes (19-12).
Bellinger was dominant practically from start to finish. In his eight innings of work, Bellinger struck out eight, walked three, and only gave up three hits—the first coming in the fifth inning. His stellar performance earned him the much-deserved victory.
In opposition, Kyle Weller, the starter for the Snipes, did not look too bad himself. Although he received the loss, Weller pitched seven innings of three-run ball, with only two being credited to his name. He gave up five hits, but also was in control of a wicked curveball, which helped contribute to his nine strikeouts.
The Hounds’ offense gave Bellinger all the support he would need in the first inning. By leading things off with a triple, Emerson Misch would score when Drew LaComb grounded out to short. Through one inning of play, the Hounds sat on top 1-0.
After being shutdown in the second inning, the Hounds’ offense got things going in the third through Misch again. After a hard hit single up the middle put Misch on first, LaComb followed with a single of his own that advanced the speedy Misch over to third. With runners on the corners, Connor Kopach grounded out to short and Misch scored, putting the Hounds up 2-0.
Once more, Misch was involved in the next offensive spark from the Hounds. In the fifth, Misch lead off with a walk. After a sacrifice bunt moved him to second, Misch stole third. Sliding in safely was Misch, but a wild throw by Cale Robinson, the catcher for the Snipes, allowed Misch to stand up and score easily, extending the lead to 3-0.
In the eighth inning, Bellinger faced his toughest jam of the night. With the bases loaded and no outs, Bellinger had the top of the order due up for the Snipes, but Bellinger remained composed. After striking out Chris Maranto, Bellinger produced a shallow fly ball that was caught by Drew LaComb for the second out. Bellinger would get the Snipes’ three-hitter to pop out in foul territory for the third out.
The Hounds would add one more to their total in the eighth when Frankie Perrone doubled in Richie Gorski, and that’s all that Ryan Hinchley would need when he came into the game in the ninth inning for relief.
With defensive support, Hinchley had a smooth ninth inning. With one runner on and one out, Hinchley forced Matthew James to hit into a game-ending 6-4-3 double play.
Behind the arm of Bellinger, and the offensive attack of Misch, the Hounds won comfortably at home over the Snipes. The celebration will not last long, however, as the team will play five games in the upcoming four days.
With just under two weeks left in the regular season, the Hounds sit on top of the MCL and currently have home field advantage for the playoffs. As the regular season counts down to an end, these remaining games will continue to be more important for the team.
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