Baseball: Four-run fifth inning lifts Naperville Central over Naperville NorthNaperville North's Nick Solak tags out Naperville Central's Kevin Linne at second base on Tuesday, May 8, 2012. | Mike Mantucca ~ For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 8, 2012 9:20PM
Staking senior left-hander Kevin Walsh to a 3-1 advantage entering the bottom of the fifth, it appeared Naperville North was well on its way to extending its winning streak to 13 games on Tuesday against rival Naperville Central.
Instead, the Redhawks finally got to Walsh in a four-run fifth inning and pulled out a 5-3 victory over the Huskies to keep pace with Wheaton North in the DVC race.
After getting Jim Nashert to ground out to begin the fifth, five of the next six Redhawks got hits off Walsh to help turn a 3-1 deficit into a 5-3 lead, as the Redhawks sent eight men to the plate in the pivotal fifth.
“We felt good about (letting Walsh start the fifth). Kevin has been going five, six, seven innings all the time,” Naperville North coach Carl Hunckler. “No questions whatsoever. Everybody last week used a lot of pitching and that (with the poor weather). We were certainly hoping to get like six innings out of him.”
But the Huskies didn’t get six innings out of Walsh as Ian Lewandowski, Brian Schiemann, Blake Butler and Cody Campbell all recorded RBI in the fifth for Naperville Central (18-10, 12-4 DuPage Valley).
Walsh (4-1) gave up five earned runs on 12 hits in 5-2/3 innings.
Seven different Redhawks recorded at least one hit, with Lewandowski and Butler recording three apiece.
“I felt comfortable. I thought we could come in and hit (Walsh),” said Butler, who went 3-for-3, scoring twice. “Felt like it was a big day for us — Game 1 of the series versus (Naperville) North, of course our rivals. We just wanted to come out here and start it off right.”
Thanks to the work the Huskies’ offense did early on, it didn’t immediately start off that right for Naperville Central.
Naperville North (17-12, 11-5 DuPage Valley) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first off Campbell, courtesy of three singles, including a pair of RBI singles from senior first baseman Alex Moss and junior Pat Mollo.
The Huskies peppered Campbell for two earned runs on six hits, while Campbell walked four and fanned four in 4 2/3 innings of work.
But much like it has been recently in the series between the two crosstown rivals, the breaks eventually went Naperville Central’s way.
Naperville Central has won six of the past eight meetings and snapped a Naperville North double-digit winning streak for the second time in three seasons.
Jeff Schank came in and bailed Campbell out with 2 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball but not before enduring some tense moments late.
Retiring the first two batters to begin the top of the seventh, Schank (6-1) surrendered two straight hits and hit a batter to load the bases for Louisville-bound shortstop Nick Solak.
Solak tapped a 1-2 pitch right back to Schank to preserve the victory for Naperville Central and give the Redhawks a much-needed boost while staying atop the DVC.
“I felt like we have to stand out of our own way, but again, the kids came through,” Naperville Central coach Mike Stock said. “Cody really settled down and battled and then Jeff Schank came in and did what he’s been doing all season for us.”