Baseball: Naperville Central rolls by Bolingbrook
Behind its solid pitching, Naperville Central surprised some in the spring by coming a game away from making a second trip to Joliet in three years.
Making the most of what its opposition gave it throughout the postseason run in the spring, its inconsistent offense throughout the spring finally caught up to it in its Class 4A UI Supersectional loss to Minooka.
Seven weeks after losing to the Indians in Champaign, most of the crew that made up its offense during the spring began Naperville Central’s run in the 2012 IHSBCA summer state tournament with a bang.
Jumping all over four Bolingbrook pitchers, top-seeded Naperville Central posted a 17-0, five-inning shutout of 16th-seeded Bolingbrook on Monday afternoon in Bolingbrook in the first round of the Glenbard South Regional.
Pounding out 14 hits, the Redhawks proved to be quite efficient in putting up those 17 runs as they batted around in three straight innings, sending 10 men to the plate in both a six-run third inning and a five-run fourth.
“I think we were just competitive. We were hungry for (Monday). Everyone wanted to win,” said Redhawks’ senior shortstop Nick Lopez, who went 3-for-3 with three RBI. “We all just came in, we wanted to hit the ball and we did and put 17 on them.”
Junior right fielder Jack Alberts and senior first baseman Jim Nashert highlighted the onslaught by hitting three-run homers in consecutive innings.
Alberts’ three-run blast in the second capped a five-run second and ended the afternoon of the Raiders’ junior starter, Chris Leupold, who lasted only 1 1/3 innings and gave up six runs, four earned, on four hits.
Bolingbrook’s struggles on the mound against Naperville Central marked a very sharp contrast to what it did earlier in the morning when it shut out No. 17 Neuqua Valley, 1-0, on only one hit off Wildcats’ senior lefty Danny Mokrzycki.
The massive run support made a winner out of senior left-hander Jeff Schank, who threw three scoreless frames while scattering three hits and striking out five.
“I was just trying to switch up my pitches, maybe throw more curves and sliders. My fastball wasn’t as fast, moving as much,” Schank said. “So I thought more sliders and curves and it was working. Fastball was a little wild at some points, but other pitches were working — especially the curveball. They were all off on that curveball.”
Schank, who went 7-1 with a 0.86 ERA in the spring, threw just 41 pitches in his three innings before yielding to a pair of seniors, Zach Aranoff and Joey Wheeler, for the last two innings.
Getting to use three pitchers in only five innings showed off the Redhawks’ depth on the mound, which pleased Redhawks coach Mike Stock.
“We’re gonna try to manage the arms. These guys have been throwing on, I think, shorter amount of pitches on shorter rest, too, all summer,” Stock said. “So we’re trying to (manage it). We got the opportunity there and we’ve got enough arms available, so it wasn’t (like) we weren’t dropping off too much.”