Baseball: Pat Walsh propels Glenbard East past Naperville Central
Updated: April 11, 2012 8:16PM
The last time Glenbard East senior right-hander Pat Walsh took the mound at Naperville Central, he turned it into a one-man show.
Firing a four-hit, eight-strikeout complete game at the Redhawks back on April 29, 2011, Walsh also came through at the plate with a solo home run off Ian Lewandowski in an eventual Glenbard East victory.
Fast forward just under a year, and with the Rams’ eyes trained on salvaging the third game of their series with Naperville Central, Walsh was back in a familiar spot Wednesday.
Perplexing the Redhawks’ hitters for the majority of the afternoon, Walsh tossed another complete game to lead Glenbard East to a 3-2 victory over Naperville Central in Naperville.
“Because (Naperville Central) is such a storied program, it’s nice to get out here and say I beat Naperville Central twice, with the pitching (they have),” Walsh said. “They always make it interesting in the last inning, so it feels good to get the win. They beat us close the past two games, so we knew we had to get this one out to avoid the sweep.”
Retiring the first nine Redhawks batters to step up to the plate against him, the Loras College-bound Walsh scattered only five hits all afternoon — with three of them coming in the bottom of the seventh.
With Walsh carrying Glenbard East’s 3-1 advantage into Naperville Central’s half of the seventh, the Redhawks were able to string together three hits off him, one of which — a RBI single to right from Redhawks’ senior right fielder Bryce Kirk that plated Lewandowski with the Redhawks’ second run of the game.
Coming with one out in the seventh, Kirk’s single moved Naperville Central junior catcher Brian Schiemann, who had singled right before him, to second with the potential tying run and Nick Thomas coming to the plate.
But seeing his lead trimmed down to a single run for the second time in the game, Walsh (2-0) induced Thomas to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end the game and close out a much needed victory for Glenbard East (9-7, 1-2 DuPage Valley).
“Honestly, I love being in pressure situations. They were seeing the ball that last inning,” said Walsh, who struck out four. “I was missing a few spots and they took advantage of it, which props to them. Thank God for my defense. That was a great play to end the game. Nick (Vichio) made a great toss to Danny (Ryan) and Danny made a perfect turn to get (Thomas).”
Taking advantage of scoring a combined 19 runs on 21 hits to earn victories in each of the past two days, its defense is what derailed Naperville Central (7-5, 2-1 DuPage Valley) on Wednesday in its hopes to earn a three-game sweep.
Committing four errors as a team Wednesday, all three runs the Rams put across home plate against Redhawks junior left-handed Jeff Schank were unearned, including the two runs the Rams scored in the first to grab a quick 2-0 lead.
Taking the tough loss, Schank (1-1) went the distance in allowing the three runs on four hits while fanning four for the Redhawks, who had their three-game winning streak snapped.
“Our pitching was great again (Wednesday). You know what? We battled to be in this game when you make four errors in a varsity baseball game like that,” Naperville Central coach Mike Stock said. “Jeff Schank did a great job for us and I think that was true this whole week.”