Baseball: Naperville Central’s bats come alive in win over Glenbard East
Taking one look at the windy conditions greeting his team Monday as it prepared to open DuPage Valley Conference play at home against Glenbard East, Naperville Central coach Mike Stock had one thing on his mind.
Putting away the small-ball mindset for a day and seeing his team try and swing the bat, Stock provided an opportunity for his charges to let some offensive frustration out.
Obliging, the Redhawks’ offense looked the best it has all season in picking up senior ace Ian Lewandowski and carrying the load in Naperville Central’s 10-5 victory over Glenbard East in Naperville.
The two men preceding Lewandowski in the lineup’s top two spots — juniors Jim Nashert and Nick Lopez — set the tone in combining to go 6-for-8 with three RBI and five runs scored for Naperville Central, which used a four-run third and a five-run sixth to gain separation from the Rams.
“We’ve been preaching in practice, the coaches have been, to jump on the fastball and we were just looking for the fastball (Monday),” said Nashert, who went 4-for-4 and saw three of his four hits go for extra bases in finishing a home run shy of the cycle. “I got a few good pitches and did what I could with them. It was a really fun day.”
Pounding out a season-high 12 hits en route to putting a season-high 10 runs on the scoreboard off the combination of Glenbard East starter Nick Vichio and right-handed reliever Danny Ryan, eight of those hits for Naperville Central (6-4, 1-0 DuPage Valley) went for extra bases, including five triples.
Nashert had two of the triples, with Lopez, senior shortstop Nick Ryan and senior right fielder Bryce Kirk coming through with the other three.
The offensive fireworks were made all the more important considering Lewandowski didn’t have his best stuff.
Seeing his 23 1/3 scoreless inning streak end by giving up a run in the top of the third, Lewandowski (3-0) battled through six innings to pick up the win.
“I’m really lucky to have my team hit like that (Monday) because I wasn’t on at all. I didn’t have my good stuff at all,” said Lewandowski, who scattered eight hits while giving up two earned runs and fanning seven. “You can’t pitch very well with two pitches and my curveball was terrible. My team picked me up, especially with the bat.”
After Lewandowski surrendered the run in the top of the third to tie the game at 1-1, Naperville Central answered immediately by tallying four runs in the bottom of the frame off Vichio (2-2), who took the loss after allowing five earned runs on eight hits in five innings.
Six different Redhawks reached the hit column at least once and four — Nashert, Lopez, Ross Murphy and Nick Ryan — continually peppered the gaps off Vichio (2-2) and Danny Ryan, who gave up all five runs, three of those earned, in the sixth on four hits.
“It was very good (to see the offense produce),” Lopez said. “(The) bats were awake (Monday). We’ve been struggling for the whole spring. But (with) opening conference (play), we came out strong.”
Three players had two hits apiece for Glenbard East (8-6, 0-1 DuPage Valley): Pat Walsh, Vichio and Mike Hansen, who had a two-run single off Redhawks’ senior reliever Matt Hay in the seventh.