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Baseball | Sandburg drops two of three after hot start to season

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By Steve Millar
Correspondent

Colin Kissane has played a big role in Sandburg’s fast start, producing some big hits out of the middle of the order.

Kissane, who was injured for much of last season, is making up for lost time.

He came through with an RBI double and a sacrifice fly as the host Eagles edged Thornwood, 5-3, on April 7 in Orland Park.

“I know that it’s my senior season and I’ve been trying to get after it,” Kissane said. “I really got after it in the cages in the offseason and I think it put me in a good position.

“I’ve got these guys who’ve got my back, and I know once we get it rolling it’s just going to keep going.”

Ethan Highfill went 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI and Jason Sullivan was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run for Sandburg (8-3-1).

The Eagles bounced back after a quick turnaround following an 11-1 loss April 6. Last Friday’s game was at 11 a.m., so they did not have much time to think about the previous day’s beating.

“We came off the bus obviously not ready to play,” Sandburg coach Jim Morsovillo said of last Thursday’s loss. “We told them that sometimes it’s just not our day. Everything kind of spiraled out of control, so we just came back (Friday) and tried to get back on the right side of things.

“We didn’t play great and they helped us out a little bit with some miscues, but we hung in there and got the win. We just have to keep working on some small-ball stuff and doing some of the little things better.”

Thornwood (4-7) grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, but the Eagles answered with two runs in the bottom half of the inning.

Highfill singled and scored on Kissane’s double. Kissane then came home on a single from Nick Morsovillo.

“It was a good feeling,” Kissane said of his double. “We were down so I had to get something going. Our coaches talk about visualizing on deck, so I just thought about a couple good at-bats I’ve had this season barreling up balls.

“I’ve been pulling out a bit on my swing lately, so I was thinking right-center and I hit it on the barrel and hit it over the center fielder’s head. I messed up my hamstring a couple days ago, so I was limping to second, but I got the job done.”

Highfill added an RBI triple in the third inning and came home when Kissane hit a fly ball to center field — ruled a sacrifice fly — and reached when the ball was dropped in the outfield.

“At the beginning of the season, I’ve been focusing away and I’ve been getting a lot of away pitches,” Highfill said. “But I knew I might get something different from this pitcher. I saw what he looked like. I got a fastball inside on the first pitch and I got it done.”

Cole Vazzana pitched 3 2/3 innings in relief, allowing just one earned run, to earn the win. Highfill got the save, throwing a hitless final 2 1/3 innings.

Sandburg closed the week with a 5-3 nine-inning loss to Minooka on April 8. The Eagles were held to two hits: a Highfill double and a single by Dom Palumbo.

Dan Kohs stole home for the Eagles in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings, but Sandburg fell short.

Sullivan struck out 13 in six innings, allowing one earned run on two hits.

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