Baseball: Troy Fumagalli fuels Waubonsie Valley victoryNaperville Central's Jimmy Nashert slides safely into second as both he and Waubonsie Valley's Austin Dixon look to the upmire for the call during their game at Naperville Central High School in Naperville on Thursday, March 28, 2012. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 28, 2012 6:44PM
Over the past couple of years, Waubonsie Valley has learned the painful lesson that you only get one time to make a first impression.
Slow starts in each of the past two springs put Waubonsie Valley behind the eight-ball early on, leaving it with a pair of huge holes to try and dig itself out of.
Beginning its 2012 campaign last Saturday by getting no-hit at home by York en route to getting shut out 4-0, the Warriors followed that performance up with a 6-1 win over West Aurora Monday.
After a day off, traveling over to Naperville to square off with Naperville Central, the process towards getting off to a good start this spring continued with flying colors.
Buoyed by 6 1/3 strong innings from their starter, junior Troy Fumagalli, the Warriors came away with a 4-2 road victory over Naperville Central on Wednesday.
The left-handed Fumagalli kept the Redhawks off balance for most of the afternoon, despite seeing the Redhawks put their leadoff man aboard in five of seven innings.
“Every time I go in, I try to do the best I can. Get my team in the best situation to win,” Fumagalli said. “That’s what I tried to do.”
He did so by scattering eight hits and striking out four in allowing single runs in the second and sixth innings.
The work Fumagalli (1-0) and senior right-hander Ryan Vasicek, who earned the save by recording the final two outs, combined to do on the mound against Naperville Central (1-2) didn’t go wasted by the offense, which was very opportunistic.
Going down 1-0 in the second, courtesy of a RBI single from Redhawks junior catcher Brian Schiemann, the Warriors’ offense came alive in the third after Redhawks starter, junior right-hander Cody Campbell, fanned C.J. Lee and Mitch Stefani to begin the frame.
Campbell proceeded to open the door for the Warriors by walking Tyler Josupait and hitting James Palasz and the Warriors (2-1) were ready and willing to take full advantage.
Zac Steele and Fumagalli both brought runs home with back-to-back RBI singles before senior Mitch Gill reached base after Schiemann failed to throw to first after a dropped third strike and Campbell walked sophomore Tyler Hasper with the bases loaded.
Palasz later added a two-out RBI single in the fourth to pad the Waubonsie Valley lead to 4-1.
“A mentor of mine, Jim Schmid, used to always say, ‘two-out rallies are hard to come by,’ ’’ Waubonsie Valley coach Dan Fezzuoglio said. “You don’t usually get those. However, for us to build some confidence; for us that was really [nice to see] against, obviously, an outstanding program.
“We’ve had some tight games over the years. Either way, we haven’t played very well here over the last couple of years that we’ve come here. Some tight games late and then, all of a sudden, things start to seem to unravel. But with (Wednesday), credit Ryan Vasicek for coming out [of the bullpen] and, obviously, Troy Fumagalli. What do you say? (He) threw a great game, which is a good sign for our expectations. Seeing him on the hill, the way he threw, and the timely hits.”
Dealing with some back issues late in his outing, Fumagalli made sure that the Warriors wouldn’t experience something along the lines of what they experienced the last time they visited Naperville Central.
Two years ago, tied at 1-1 in the sixth inning, they saw the Redhawks erupt for eight runs in the inning en route to losing 9-1 to the eventual Class 4A state champions.
“It feels awesome [to beat Naperville Central]. I mean, obviously, they’re up there, 2006 and 2010 when they won the state championship,” said Fumagalli, referencing Naperville Central’s two state titles while looking up at the scoreboard. “So just competing with a team (at) this level and beat them, it’s really good for us.”
Dropping to 0-2 on the season after throwing 81 pitches in four innings, control or the lack thereof is quickly becoming an issue for Campbell, who gave up six hits and four runs while fanning five.
“You hit batters and you walk batters, you’re gonna struggle. We’re gonna need to get the changeup [over] and we’re gonna need to get more than one pitch over against good teams like Waubonsie,” Naperville Central coach Mike Stock said of Campbell, who hit three batters and walked two. “He’ll do it. He got his work in. His pitch count was at 80 and we’re still building. That’s a part of what this first two weeks is about.”
But perhaps a more pressing concern for Stock is trying to get more production out of his offense, which has combined to tally only six runs in three games.
“I thought we actually had some decent approaches at times, but the bottom of our order — we’re getting absolutely no production from right now,” Stock said. “That’s not necessarily the same personnel. We’re mixing it up a little bit, so we’re just trying to push the right buttons.
“The kids are [pressing]. You want them to attack. You don’t want them to press. We’re trying to get them all to relax a little bit but still stay in the attack mode.”