Cubs

Benet survives tough test from Andrew

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Benet survives tough test from Andrew

By Eddie Burns
SeasonPass.com

The big plays were not there for Benet, but the Redwings were willing to take what Andrew gave them and it led to a playoff win.

The second-seeded Redwings made enough plays to score a 24-10 victory against the seventh seed Thunderbolts in a Class 7A first round playoff game played Friday night at Benedictine University in Lisle. It was the Redwings first postseason win since 2006 against Alton.

We hung in there, Benet sophomore quarterback Jack Beneventi said. It was one of those grinding games.

It didnt start off promising as Beneventis second pass was intercepted by Kevin Walsh and returned to the Benet 10, but the Redwings defense held and forced the Thunderbolts to a field goal and a 3-0 lead.

Benet (9-1) utilized a short-passing attack as Beneventi spread the ball around to eight different receivers. The Redwings took a 7-3 lead when Beneventi connected with running back Nick McTarnaghan for a 15-yard screen pass.

Im just happy everyone stuck with the plan, said Beneventi, who completed 26 of 36 passes for 254 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. We knew that the big plays might not bet there tonight and we took the short stuff. It is good to have so many options and we took advantage of that.

Fullbacklinebacker Jack Crain made it 14-3 with a 3-yard run.

McTarnaghan made the biggest play right before halftime. Beneventi dropped back to attempt a pass near midfield on the final play of the half, but he was hit by Andrews Brett Leifker and the ball came loose. Andrews Ryan Supple picked up the ball and raced toward the end zone, but McTarnaghan and teammate Tomas Cyvas managed to knock Supple out of bounds at the 1 as time expired.

I dont know how, but we managed to stop him, said McTarnaghan, who left last weeks Joliet Catholic game with a slight concussion. Im honestly not sure if I was going to get him, but we chased him down. It was a huge momentum for us to still be up 14-3 instead of maybe 14-10.

Andrew coach Jim Malec said that play gave his team confidence despite the fact they didnt score.

I thought (Supple) was going to get in there, Malec said. I think that play propelled us into halftime and got us thinking we could fight back. It got us more energized, but obviously things just didnt work out. We have nothing to be ashamed of.

The Thunderbolts (6-4) made it interesting when running back Jarvion Franklin (11 carries for 110 yards) busted loose for a 81-yard touchdown to cut Benets lead to 17-10 with 10 minutes left, but Beneventi and the Redwings responded with a 10-play, 83-yard scoring drive, which included Beneventi completing a crucial third-down pass to Jack Euritt. Beneventi eventually capped off the drive with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Nick Surges with 4:57 left.

Benets defense forced Andrew into two second-half turnovers and limited the Thunderbolts to 215 yards of total offense.

I have to give them credit they are a great defense, said Andrew quarterback Jacob Platt, who completed 10 of 18 passes for 109 yards with interception. They are fast, strong and they were fun to play against. It was a great challenge. We just let this game get away from us by not taking advantage of chances we had.

Benet will host Oswego next weekend in a second-round game. The Panthers defeated Plainfield North, 28-21 on Friday night.

Kris Bryant's injury looms large as Cubs finish home stand in underwhelming fashion

Kris Bryant's injury looms large as Cubs finish home stand in underwhelming fashion

There are 162 baseball games in a season and some days, you’re just not going to have it. On Sunday afternoon, in a 10-2 loss to the Reds, the Cubs just didn’t have it. 

“It’s already in the trash can...” Maddon said. “... so let’s flush it out and move on.” 

Things were bleak from the very first at-bat of the game, when Kyle Schwarber took a 3-2 fastball looking for one of his three strikeouts on the day. Anthony Rizzo was the only starter not to strike out at least once, as the Cubs’ finished with 11. Reds starter Tanner Roark was responsible for 9 of them, his season-high. 

Things weren’t much better on the basepaths or in the field. Besides making two errors, Anthony Rizzo was thrown out at the plate in the 2nd inning and David Bote got doubled-up at first after drawing a walk in the 6th. The Cubs were playing playing their 13th game in 13 days, and it showed.

“I feel really good about how we’ve been playing until today,” Maddon said. “This whole month we’ve been in almost every game except for this one, and maybe the [7-0 loss on May 10th] against Milwaukee. There’s not a whole lot to be upset about, and I’m not. I just want to make sure everyone’s well moving forward.” 

There was a scary moment in the 6th inning, as Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward collided in the right field gap while trying to make a play on a fly ball from Eugenio Suarez. Bryant was slow to get up and eventually had to leave the game. He’s still being evaluated for a head/neck injury, and the Cubs don’t yet know if he’ll go into concussion protocol. For what it's worth, Bryant was cleared to fly with the team. 

“He’s doing okay,” he said. “He’s still under evaluation. We don’t know exactly what we’re doing with this whole thing yet, but we’re trying to talk with the doctors and find out exactly where we’re at.”

“We collided, and I called for the ball,” Heyward added. “We were both going hard to make a play and ran into each other.”

The loss dropped starter Jose Quintana to 4-4 on the season. Quintana went 5.1 innings while allowing six runs on 12 hits with one walk and two strikeouts. Despite relatively weak contact, the Reds hit well all weekend. Their 42 hits over three games was the most for them in a three-game series at Wrigley since 1976, and they finished the weekend with a .404 BABIP. 

“Yeah, I just had to keep pitching, you know?” Quintana said. “Keeping my focus. It was really tough - too many base hits. In some contests that happens. I just try to stay close in the game.” 

The Cubs finished their 7-game homestand at 3-4, and now hit the road for a two-city trip. Up first comes the 35-19 Astros, who are 20-7 at home. This season Houston ranks first in on-base percentage, second in slugging percentage, and third in home runs. Their closer, Ryan Pressley, has the lowest ERA of all qualified relievers and is fresh off a streak of 40 straight scoreless appearances.

“I’m excited,” Joe Maddon said before Sunday’s game. “Let’s get by today, but I’m excited for the whole week. Look at our schedule - it’s been pretty firm, and it continues to be pretty firm. And that’s the way it should be. I’m looking forward to it.” 

Kris Bryant leaves Sunday's game after outfield collision with Jason Heyward

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Scott Chagnon/NBC Sports Chicago

Kris Bryant leaves Sunday's game after outfield collision with Jason Heyward

Add injury to insult for the Cubs. 

In the top of the 6th inning, with the Cubs already down 6 runs, right fielder Kris Bryant left the game after colliding with Jason Heyward in the outfield.

You can check out the video right here. 

It's possible that the move was simply precautionary. The Cubs are on their 13th game in 13 days, and being down six runs in the latter half of a getaway game isn't the time to roll the dice. That said, Bryant missing time would be a significant blow, as the Cubs' star is in the midst of a stellar season. Through 49 games, Bryant's slashing .288/.411/.576 with a .987 and a 160 wRC+. As of Sunday afternoon, only Javy Baez has a higher WAR (2.5) than Bryant (2.4). 

There's been no further announcement on the extent of Bryant's injury.