Baseball: Naperville Central works overtime again for win
On the heels of pulling out a victory in 11 innings Monday and seeing its game Tuesday with Glenbard North suspended in the top of the third inning, Naperville Central’s pitching staff was already operating within a slim margin of error.
Wednesday didn’t necessarily help matters. It only complicated them.
Extending itself once again, Naperville Central pulled out its second 11-inning victory in three days, thanks to a RBI double from junior Cody Campbell in the bottom of the 11th inning to earn a well-earned 3-2 victory over Wheaton North in Naperville.
Driving the first pitch he saw from Falcons’ junior left-handed reliever Sam Nafziger (1-2) into left-center field, Campbell plated junior Blake Butler with the game-winning run.
“Coach (Mike Stock) told us to hunt fastballs, but (Nafziger) left a curveball up and I was like, ‘All right, I can’t wait for a fastball after this pitch,’” Campbell said. “So I swung, made contact and got it through.”
Receiving six solid innings from junior right-hander Jim Nashert to start the game, Naperville Central carried a 2-0 lead into the sixth, only to see the Falcons score single runs in the sixth and the seventh to send the game into extra innings.
Taking a one-game lead over Wheaton North for first place in the DuPage Valley Conference race, the Redhawks wouldn’t have done so without the contributions of junior Zach Aranoff and senior Sean Goblet.
After senior Matt Hay, who relieved Nashert to start the seventh, failed to retire any of the three batters he saw and having already seen the Falcons tie the game at 2-2, Aranoff came in and stemmed the tide.
Striking out the side in the top of the seventh to limit the damage and stranding the bases loaded, Aranoff threw three scoreless innings while fanning five.
Goblet (1-0) picked up right where Aranoff left off by firing off two more scoreless frames to finish off the game and the Falcons.
“It was huge. It was huge,” Stock said of the contributions that both Aranoff and Goblet put forth. “We’re gonna piece this together day-by-day and having those two kids step up like that, it was huge. It was great.”
The Redhawks had a golden opportunity to try and win the game in the bottom of the 10th after getting their first two men on, but Nafziger induced Redhawks senior left-fielder Ross Murphy to ground into a 1-6-3 double play and got Brian Schiemann to ground out to second with a runner on third to end the inning.
Naperville Central (15-8, 8-2 DuPage Valley) jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first off Wheaton North starter Justin Harrington.
With one out, Harrington surrendered three straight hits, a sequence capped by a two-run single from Murphy.
From there, Harrington stiffened quite considerably for the Falcons in going nine innings and allowing one earned run on eight hits while striking out five despite picking up a tough no-decision.
Ryan Kent and Jake Schieber each went 2-for-4 for Wheaton North (15-9, 8-3 DuPage Valley).
“We got to bounce back (at home on Thursday). That’s all we can do,” Wheaton North coach Dan Schoessling said. “Two important games coming up and we certainly had our opportunities and didn’t get it done. Disappointing for sure but got to come back.”