Naperville Central ousts Glenbard East
Second chances sometimes can be few and far between. But when they come along, one must take advantage.
An afternoon after capitalizing on another look at Downers Grove South, which had eliminated it from the spring state tournament back in May, Naperville Central seized its second crack at Glenbard East senior right-hander Pat Walsh.
After seeing Walsh homer and fire a four-hit, eight-strikeout complete game at them in a 2-1 Glenbard East victory back on April 29, the Redhawks turned the tables quite nicely on Walsh on their way to eliminating the Rams 8-1 victory on Tuesday in a Glenbard South Regional quarterfinal.
While Naperville Central’s offense took full advantage of its second opportunity to face Walsh, collecting four hits and scoring seven runs off him, senior right-hander Sean Goblet made the most of his first chance to showcase himself.
Goblet, who threw just one inning during the spring, was very good in his five innings of work by limiting Glenbard East to just one run on five hits.
“I was just trying to make my pitches, get them to make contact, hit it straight to our guys,” said Goblet, who fanned five without issuing a single walk. “They’re the ones who picked me up when I got (Glenbard East) them to make contact. (Ross) Murphy making plays out in left, same with Kevin Linne in center. They just backed me up and I just did my job.”
Deciding last week to give the ball to Goblet as the No. 2 guy on the mound, Naperville Central coach Mike Stock has been very pleased with what he has seen from his team in all facets during the past couple of days.
“We’ve done a good job of letting two one-run innings be two one-run innings, not be three-run innings,” Stock said. “Our middle infield has played well. Balls haven’t got back to the screen—our catching game has been good. Our outfielders are making plays and our pitchers are throwing strikes.”
An afternoon after sending 10 men to the plate in a seven-run fifth against Downers Grove South, breaking that game open, Naperville Central busted loose again on Tuesday by sending 10 men to the plate in a five-run sixth that gave it its final winning cushion of 8-1.
A pinch-hit RBI single from Joey Wheeler and a two-run double down the right-field line from senior right-fielder Bryce Kirk highlighted Tuesday’s big inning.
After pounding out 13 hits the day before against the Mustangs, Naperville Central’s offense was more economical in collecting only seven hits and taking full advantage of five walks from Walsh, with Jeff Schank being the lone Redhawk to get two hits.
But the biggest blow of the afternoon came off the bat of senior Murphy in the third.
With one man on base with two outs in a 1-1 game, Murphy drilled a 2-2 offering from Walsh over the left-field fence for a two-run homer and put Naperville Central in the lead for the remainder of the afternoon.
“When he beat Ian (Lewandowski) in the spring, he had a really good two-seamer that we couldn’t figure out,” Murphy said of Walsh. “Today, it seemed his ball was a little bit flat. He was walking people and we drove those guys in. That’s what you got to do. When there’s men on base, you got to drive them in.”
The Redhawks will meet No. 6 Willowbrook, a 1-0 winner over third-seeded Wheaton North, in the second Glenbard South Regional semifinal Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.