Baseball: Naperville Central overcomes deficits to topple West Chicago
Updated: May 14, 2012 8:41PM
Sitting a game back of the lead in the DuPage Valley Conference with three games to play, the task for Naperville Central was quite simple: just win.
Erasing a pair of multi-run deficits, including tallying four runs in the bottom of the eighth, Naperville Central barely avoided suffering a very inopportune loss to West Chicago by emerging with a 10-9 victory Monday in Naperville.
A two-run, two-out single to left from junior Blake Butler on a fastball from Wildcats’ reliever Erik Solis capped a wild and, at times, inexplicable afternoon for the Redhawks, who remained a game behind Wheaton North in the DVC standings.
“We came in looking for a W, but (West Chicago) gave us a really hard fight. It was dirty and we just wanted it any way we could get it,” Butler said. “Coming into that last (inning) down three, we knew it was time to get the bats alive.”
After seeing the Wildcats start a two-out rally with nobody on to tie the game in the seventh, a rally that was aided greatly by Ian Lewandowski failing to catch a pop up at third that would have ended the game, and put three more runs on the board in the top of the eighth to take a 9-6 lead, the Redhawks went to work.
After Solis got Jeff Lucas to pop up to first to begin the bottom of the eighth, five straight Redhawks reached base safely, including seeing Lewandowski atone somewhat for his gaffe with a two-run single that brought them to within 9-8.
Perhaps showing off a little hangover from receiving a lopsided loss at the hands of Naperville North last Thursday, Naperville Central took a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, only to see the Wildcats respond for the first time on the afternoon.
West Chicago (6-26, 1-18 DuPage Valley) used a three-run fourth to chase Redhawks’ junior right-hander Cody Campbell and added another run an inning later off the man who replaced him, junior right-hander Zach Aranoff, to take a 4-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth.
Sending 10 men to the plate in the fifth off Wildcats’ starter Josh Gimre, Naperville Central (20-11, 14-5 DuPage Valley) turned its 4-1 deficit into a 6-4 lead, highlighted by a bases-clearing, three-run triple from senior Ross Murphy.
“I think we started looking for our pitch instead of just swinging at all of the junk (Gimre) was throwing,” said Murphy, who went 3-for-5 with four RBI while also scoring a run. “I think our approaches came through.”
In relief of Campbell, who gave up three runs in 3 2/3 innings, Aranoff gave up only one earned run on three hits in 3 1/3 innings to help give his teammates an opportunity to chip away at the early deficit.
Junior left-hander Jeff Schank took over for Schank in the top of the eighth and surrendered two earned runs but picked up his seventh victory of the year, thanks to Butler.
“Zach did what’s been doing,” Naperville Central coach Mike Stock said of Aranoff. “Zach throws three pitches for strikes. I don’t think he had his great stuff, but I thought he was solid and he gave us a chance.”
Led by Gimre’s 3-for-4 day at the plate, four Wildcats had at least two hits. Gimre took a tough no-decision for the Wildcats after going seven innings and giving up just one earned run on six hits while fanning six.