By Michael Leonard | Record Publishing Co.
Woodridge coach Dennis Dever said his team was facing a challenge after its late loss to Northwest on Thursday.
"We'll see what kind of character we have," Dever said.
Prior to this week, Woodridge's character hadn't been tested too much -- largely because the Bulldogs were undefeated until this week.
A pair of seventh-inning errors helped Northwest hand Woodridge only its second loss of the season at home. Woodridge fell 5-3, dropping to 11-2 on the year.
"We field two ground balls and we win the game," Dever said. "We didn't field two ground balls and we lost. That was the difference in the game."
The miscues ruined a solid outing for Woodridge sophomore starter Jackson Taylor. After giving up three singles in the top of the first inning, Taylor settled down and kept the Indians in check.
Taylor went 61⁄3 innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits.
Northwest scored first on an RBI single by Beau Workman in the top of the first.
Woodridge's Preston Clark manufactured the tying run in the bottom of the second. He reached on an error, stole two bases and scored on a second error.
The game stayed at 1-1 until the bottom of the sixth, as the Bulldogs were kept off balance by Northwest left-hander Tristen Lindeman (1-1).
"There's game were we have a big lack of strike zone discipline," Dever said. "Today was one of those games. When we swing at strikes, we do pretty well."
Woodridge seemed to have found the breakthrough in the bottom of the sixth inning. Anthony Yacobucci singled to lead off the inning and catcher Tom Morehouse drew a one-out walk. The runners advanced on a wild pitch.
Senior Kevin Kelleher, who back in the Woodridge lineup for the first time in weeks, game through with a two-run single to make it 3-1.
"Kevin came in and did his job for us," Dever said. "It gives some punch to our guys who may have become comfortable."
Northwest put the tying runs on in the top of the seventh when Johnny Masters singled and TD Culp doubled.
Dever then lifted Taylor and put Kelleher in.
That's when disaster struck for the Bulldogs.
One error allowed Masters to score and a second error loaded the base for the Indians.
Colton Critfield then had the big hit for Northwest, as he smashed a double just inside the left field line to clear the bases to make it 5-3.
Dever said, while Kelleher (0-1) took the loss, it was not his fault. Kelleher picked off Critfield at first and struck out Jackson Shultz to end the inning.
Woodridge's Justin Whitely, Christian Owens and Morehouse each drew walks to load the bases with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning.
However, Critfield got Kellerher to bounce into fielder's choice and Owens was tagged out to end the game.