Murphy, Dogs Bullpen Open Season with Shutout
By Michael Barthelemy, Chicago Dog
ROSEMONT, Ill. — After 244 days of waiting, Chicago Dogs baseball came back in a big way.
Kicked off by a first pitch from Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Bears defensive lineman Dan Hampton, Chicago found a few lucky breaks and capitalized on Gary Southshore miscues in line to a 4-0 win.
Chicago starter Kyle Murphy dominated with five shutout innings in his first start of 2022. The righty wracked up six strikeouts and allowed only four baserunners.
Dogs center fielder Michael Crouse went 1-for-3 on the day with a double, walk, RBI and a run. Catcher Ryan Lidge went 1-for-3 with a RBI and walk as well.
Gary Southshore led things off by reaching on an error, but centerfielder Javeyan Williams was quickly caught on the basepaths trying to sneak past Murphy. Dogs third baseman Harrison Smith concluded the opening frame with a clean snag at third.
In the bottom of the third, Gary Southshore starter Trevor Lubking exited the game with an apparent right arm injury. Lubking threw 2.2 strong innings and earned four strikeouts before leaving. In relief came Josh Vincent, a right hander out of New London, Connecticut.
The one danger for Murphy came in the top of the fifth. A hit-by-pitch, single from Alec Olund and walk to Daniel Lingua brought Javeyan Williams back to the plate with the bases full and an opportunity to put his team in the lead. Murphy’s arsenal proved too strong and got Javeyan Williams to ground out to third and leave the inning unscathed.
It wouldn’t be Friday the 13th without abnormalities. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Dogs second baseman Grant Kay popped up a routine ball to foul territory, but Gary Southshore first baseman Chris Burgess had trouble with the read and couldn’t come up with the grab. Kay would eventually reach first base on a single.
Smith stepped into the box and grounded a ball to third base and an errant throw into right field pushed Kay to third base. Only, Gary Southshore right fielder Olund made a similar mistake when throwing to third. Gary Southshore third baseman Donivan Williams had trouble with the reception and Kay came home easily to break things open.
After a pair of strikeouts, Dogs centerfielder Michael Crouse blasted one to the centerfield wall. Smith came around to score and Crouse made it into second. Vincent then walked both Mars and Hobson to load up the bases and end his night. Once Aaron Phillips came on the mound for Gary SouthShore, it was more of the same. The Buffalo, New York native walked catcher Ryan Lidge and hit leftfielder Anfernee Grier. By the end of a chaotic inning, Chicago made their lead 4-0.
Right handed pitcher Joe Cavallaro entered in the sixth for Murphy and made quick 1-2-3 work of the Railcats. In the seventh, however, Chicago faced a similar situation with the bases loaded, two outs and Javeyan Williams in the batters box. Once again, the Dogs bested the centerfielder and he struck out looking.
From then, it was smooth-sailing. Cavallaro passed it to lefty James Reeves. Reeves pitched a scoreless eighth, and closer Jeff Kinley shut the door on the Railcats.
With the opening day win, the Dogs move to 1-0 for the fourth straight season. Chicago will face off against Gary for the second game of the weekend tomorrow, with first pitch at 6:00 p.m. Knuckleball pitcher Mickey Jannis will get the rock for his Dogs debut.