Baseball: Neuqua Valley’s bats erupt to upset Plainfield North
Updated: April 30, 2012 8:53PM
On the final day of April, with the postseason beckoning in just three weeks’ time, Neuqua Valley knew all too well of the opportunity awaiting them across the field in the form of No. 3 Plainfield North.
Taking an aggressive approach from the start, Neuqua Valley went out and made the most of said opportunity.
In a game that had to be moved from Plainfield to Naperville because of the cloudy and rainy weather, Neuqua Valley broke out the bats late in scoring 13 unanswered runs en route to upsetting Plainfield North, 15-2, Monday in Naperville.
Wildcats’ junior right-hander Cody Coll, taking the mound for the first time in 16 days, picked up right where he left off when he beat Naperville North back on April 14.
Coll (2-1) limited the Tigers to just two runs on three hits in four innings and juniors Danny Mokrzycki and David Gerber and senior ace Nick Blackburn each tossed an inning apiece in relief to help nail down a statement victory for Neuqua Valley (16-7).
“I just wanted to come out and throw first-pitch strikes and just let my team work because I know that we’re fully capable of playing up to anybody in the state,” Coll said.
With the IHSA pushing back the release of the seedings and pairings for Class 4A until May 8, the Wildcats took advantage of some uncharacteristic play from the presumptive No. 1 seed in the Class 4A Romeoville Sectional, Plainfield North.
Plainfield North (21-2) saw its 15-game winning streak get snapped in large part to the Wildcats’ six-run sixth, which featured three of its seven errors on the afternoon.
Tigers’ junior shortstop Kurt Palandech committed three of those seven errors, including committing one in the top of the fourth that helped allow the Wildcats to take the lead for good, courtesy of a Brett Marsalli sacrifice fly to center.
“We made a lot of mistakes, had a lot of errors. Mental mistakes all around,” Plainfield North coach John Darlington said. “It obviously wasn’t a good day.”
The Wildcats sent 10 men to the plate in the sixth and followed that up one inning later by seeing 11 men come to the plate in another six-run inning, highlighted by Jack Amaro’s three-run homer to left that increased the lead to 13-2.
“We definitely wanted to make a statement. We did everything well (Monday),” Wildcats’ senior shortstop Tanner Giesel said. “Our pitchers were outstanding, our defense was good. We outplayed them in every aspect. We hit the ball and good things happened.”
Junior left-hander Colton Smith (4-1) took the loss for Plainfield North after giving up three runs on just two hits in five innings.
One of the two hits Smith surrendered was a two-run double to right-center to Giesel in the third inning that gave Neuqua Valley a quick 2-0 lead, which was answered immediately by Plainfield North with two runs in the bottom of the third.
Giesel’s double was the Wildcats’ first on the afternoon and eight more followed as seven Wildcats recorded at least one hit, led by Blackburn’s 3-for-5 day at the plate.
“Just a lot of things went our way. The game was so close that one inning got away from (Plainfield North) and that was it,” Neuqua Valley coach Robin Renner said. “Other than that, it’s a one-run game. It could go either way, really. It was a lot closer than what the score said.”