ELGIN – McHenry County Hurricanes coach Russ Corpolongo preaches aggressiveness to his team, both at the plate and on the bases. And after winning four tournaments in the first half of the summer, he saw no reason for change.
But against the East Cobb (Ga.) Astros, the Hurricanes ran themselves out of a couple of innings and swung at pitches out of the strike zone, losing, 13-0, in pool play of the Continental Amateur Baseball Association 15-year-old World Series at Trout Park.
“Usually this team always comes back. For some reason today we just couldn’t put it together,” said Corpolongo, who has coached the Hurricanes for three years. “This team never lets up.”
East Cobb, the two-time defending champion, jumped on McHenry County early. The Astros scored five runs off starting pitcher Nick Martin in the first inning, including a three-run homer by Cole Miller.
Nick Kiefer relieved Martin in the third and pitched two scoreless innings before giving up five runs in the fifth.
Kiefer, who will be a sophomore at Elk Grove High School, was the bright spot for McHenry County at the plate.
He went 2-for-2 with two singles in his only plate appearances.
“First-pitch fastball always, and if it’s a first-pitch curveball, lay off of it,” Kiefer said of his approach at the plate. “My goal was just to get on base and try and create runs.”
Collin Nolen had the only other hit for the Hurricanes, a bunt single in the fourth inning.
Teams continue pool play through Monday before starting the double-elimination portion of the tournament.
“We just gotta wake up, step up our game and show them what we have,” Kiefer said.
Corpolongo echoed his player’s remarks, saying that the team had been in this position before and they wouldn’t change their aggressive philosophy.
“They were better than us, and they showed it,” Corpolongo said. “That’s why they’re ranked No. 1 right now, but that doesn’t mean that the next time we play them that we’re not going to beat them.”