The Mendota Junior baseball team just kept hitting.
After outscoring its first three opponents by a combined 42 runs, the Mendota squad brought out the bats once again to roll to a 12-2 victory over Peru in the Junior League District 20 championship game Saturday at M&H Field in LaSalle.
“Everyone hit the ball this week,” Mendota manager Mike Bokus said. “I was really happy with the way we hit the ball.”
Mendota, which moves on to play the winner of District 5 at 6 p.m. Friday in the Section 5 Tournament in Rock Falls, displayed that hitting early in the game by scoring five runs in the bottom of the first inning.
After a strikeout by Peru starter Dominic Bernabei, the rest of the Mendota batting order came alive.
Three straight singles began the scoring for Mendota, and after Bryson Prusator reached on a fly ball that should have been caught in left field, Mendota left fielder Joey Maino unloaded a one-out, two-run double to put the score at 4-0.
John Buchanan then singled to drive in Maino for the fifth run of the inning as Mendota jumped to an early 5-0 lead after one inning.
Mendota added three more runs to its lead in the bottom of the second powered by a two-run home run from first baseman Paxton Kennedy.
One more run in the third increased the lead to 9-0.
“We knew we needed to keep the score down — to 3, 4, 5 for them — for us to have a shot,” Peru manager Pat McManus said.
With support from his offense, Mendota’s starting pitcher, Prusator, went to work.
After allowing a lead-off double to Peru’s Nick Szczepaniak, Prusator retired the next three batters in order to close out the top of the first.
In the second inning, Peru had a pair of singles turn into two runners in scoring position following a double steal with no outs. However, Prusator ended the scoring threat by striking out the next three hitters.
“Prusator is a heck of a pitcher,” McManus said. “He’s going to keep you down.”
Peru finally got on the board in the top of the fourth when a two-out single from Liam Lockridge drove in Bernabei from second base.
Peru added another run in the top of the fifth to cut the deficit to 9-2.
Bernabei led the Peru offense, going 2-for-2.
In the fifth inning with Bailey Leek on the mound for Peru, Mendota reached base on three consecutive singles, the last of which made the score 10-2.
Two batters later, Preston O’Sadnick reached first base on a throwing error to first that scored two runs and put the 10-run rule into play to end the game.
“If we keep hitting and if our pitchers keep throwing the way that they can, I think we have a shot at winning some games,” Bokus said.
Prusator went the distance for Mendota giving up six hits and striking out 11 batters for the complete-game victory.
Kennedy, who went 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs, and Ben Bokus, who also went 3-for-4 with three singles, led the offense for Mendota.
Lizandro Sanchez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.