Cary-Grove’s consistent offense downs Dundee-Crown
Updated: June 2, 2011 11:46PM
One big inning for Dundee-Crown wasn’t nearly enough to offset an entire game’s worth of offensive production by Cary-Grove.
The Trojans set the tone by batting around in the top of the first inning Thursday as their high-powered attack leveled the Chargers in a 14-7 victory in the DeKalb Class 4A Sectional semifinals.
D-C (24-14) scored all of its runs in the bottom of the fourth, but the seven-run rally did little more than put a dent in what had been a 13-0 deficit.
Cary-Grove (28-9), which beat its Fox Valley Conference rival for the second time in three meetings this season, advances to play Streamwood (29-6) in the sectional championship game at 11 a.m. Saturday.
“We wanted to get out early and keep going,” Cary-Grove shortstop Michael Vilardo said. “The difference between good teams and great teams is you’ve got to close away when you are up. Even though we kind of faltered a little bit, we ended up doing OK.”
The Richmond-bound Vilardo helped lead the onslaught for the Trojans, going 3-for-3 with a home run, four RBI, three runs scored and two stolen bases. Alex Posey (4-for-4, RBI), Nick Richter (3-for-3, 2 RBI, 3 runs) and Alex Wians (3-for-4, RBI) also made major contributions to Cary-Grove’s 18-hit attack.
The Trojans expected to see D-C’s Mike Hazelhurst on the mound after the junior tossed a complete-game shutout last week in a aregional title game against Huntley. Instead the Chargers went with senior Mike Lodi rather than send Hazelhurst out to pitch on four days rest for the first time all year.
Lodi (6-3) lasted only 1/3 of an inning and was tagged for all four runs scored by Cary-Grove in the first inning. In fairness to Lodi, none of D-C’s pitchers could hold the Trojans in check as they struck for three runs off Jordan Kalous in the second and six runs off Hazelhurst in the third and fourth.
“They are obviously a great hitting team,” D-C coach Jon Sawyer said. “They mash the ball one through nine, and any time you give up (18) hits and that many big innings you’re probably not going to win.”
All signs pointed to a slaughter-rule shortened game until the Chargers showed some life in the bottom of the fourth.
Corey Volberding drew a bases-loaded walk and Jimmy Griffin added a two-run double off Trojans starter Matt Panek, prompting a pitching change. Two batters later D-C senior Steve Schwartz drilled a grand slam on the street well beyond left field off Ryan Kaveney to pull the Chargers within 13-7.
“We actually had a little meeting before that half inning,” Schwartz said. “We kind of put things into perspective because we thought we weren’t going to come out on top, so we just tried to have fun.”
Griffin went 2-for-3 to help lead the way at the plate for the Chargers, who reached the 20-win mark this season for the first time since 2007.
The defeat marked the final game of Sawyer’s tenure coaching D-C. He announced last month that District 300’s budget woes prompted him to seek and accept a job teaching at Grayslake North next fall. The D-C graduate leaves the program with a 45-60-1 record in three seasons at the helm.
“The guys never quit and they never give up,” Sawyer said. “They are a great group to coach and I’ll miss them.”
Panek (8-0) picked up the win on the mound after allowing five earned runs on five hits while striking out three. The Ohio State-bound lefty cruised through the first three innings before running into trouble in the fourth.
The one shaky inning didn’t end up hurting Cary-Grove, which also got solid contributions from Panek (2-for-4, 2 RBI), Kevin Weber (2-for-5) and Matt Byrne (three runs).
“It was a great start,” Cary-Grove coach Don Sutherland said. “Our sacrifices were good, our baserunning was good and obviously our hitting was good. That’s what we had hoped to do was get out on those guys early.”