Baseball: Five-running inning lifts Naperville North to winNaperville North's Pat Mollo scores a Marmion catcher Kyle Kozak fields the throw Saturday in Naperville.
Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 7, 2012 9:07PM
Too often this season, Naperville North’s baseball team has been falling behind in games early on.
In Saturday’s 10-5 nonconference win over Marmion, however, the Huskies got a chance to see how the other half lives.
North overcame two early deficits with a five-run fifth inning and cruised to the win.
“We’ve had issues with that,” North first baseman Alex Moss said. “It was kind of nice to have the tables turned. Usually it’s us trying to come back from errors. It was nice to pounce on other people’s mistakes. Today, we came out and believed we were the better team up and down, and it hasn’t been that way in a while.”
Moss had the big hit for the Huskies (4-6) off Marmion reliever Shane Cano in the fifth. All five of the Huskies’ runs in the inning were unearned. Pat Mollo doubled and scored on one of Marmion’s three errors in the inning to tie the game at 4-4. Moss then stepped up with a two-out, two-run double that plated Nick Solak and Mariano Long to give North the lead for good.
“The first at-bat, he pretty much gave me all curveballs,” Moss said. “He gave me a fastball low and away and I thought, ‘Should I have hit that?’ It was a pretty good pitch to hit. But I took it, stuck with the plan that I went up there with, and he threw me the curve low and out and it was exactly what I wanted.”
Marmion (6-5) wasted no time getting things going in the top of the first on a good day to hit. Kyle Kozak’s two-run home run opened up a quick 3-0 lead on Naperville North starter Colin Ash (2-1). But the Huskies got all the runs back in the bottom of the inning off Marmion’s Chris Simon. Back-to-back triples from Solak and Long keyed the inning.
Marmion took the lead back in the third on a solo home run from AJ Friedman, but Ash settled in from there. His final line was not pretty, featuring five walks and six strikeouts to go with four runs on four hits in five innings, but he hung in there to record the win.
“We had a lot of confidence that Colin would throw some good innings,” Naperville North coach Carl Hunckler said. “He struggled a little bit, but when it counted, he was good. It may not have been pretty, but he’ll get better.”
Marmion tacked on a run in the seventh, but by that time, the damage had been done. The five-run fifth for Naperville North was keyed by an errant pick-off throw, and the Huskies never looked back.
“We made a bad decision there and put them in a position to score, and they got the momentum and did what good teams should do,” Marmion coach Dave Rakow said. “They took advantage of it. We played with one of the better teams on our schedule for five innings and then we made some mental errors, and we need to eliminate that.”