Napeville Central snaps North's 12-game win streak



By Sean Duncan

NAPERVILLE – Nothing in the early innings of Tuesday’s battle of Naperville seemingly went right for Naperville Central. The Redhawks stranded base-runners and squandered scoring opportunities, not to mention red-hot Naperville North came out the gates swinging.

“We couldn’t get out of our own way early on,” said Naperville Central coach Mike Stock said.

That is, until the fifth inning.

Naperville Central scored four times in the fifth inning and hung on to defeat North 5-3, effectively ending the Huskies’ 12-game winning streak.

Both teams entered the contest in a three-way deadlock for first place in the DuPage Valley Conference along with Wheaton North. The two teams face off again at North (17-12, 11-5) on Wednesday and at Central (18-11, 12-4) on Thursday.

Trailing 3-1 heading into the fifth, Central finally got to North senior left-hander Kevin Walsh (4-1). The Redhawks pounded out five hits in the four-run inning, including three doubles. Left-handed hitting junior shortstop Nick Lopez and senior third baseman Ian Lewandowski got the party going with back-to-back one-out doubles, followed by a single by senior left fielder Ross Murphy. Junior catcher Brian Schiemann delivered a sacrifice fly, followed by a run-scoring single by junior centerfielder Blake Butler. Junior starting pitcher Cody Campbell capped the scoring with a run-scoring double to centerfield.

“We kept getting one, two guys on and couldn’t capitalize,” said Lewandowski, a UIC recruit who finished 3-for-4 with two doubles, a run scored and an RBI. “We strung some hits together in the fifth and made it happen. We made some adjustments and started using the whole field.”

Butler, an athletic junior, finished 3-for-3 with a triple, two runs and an RBI, while Schiemann went 2-for-2 with an RBI. Campbell added two RBI for the Redhawks.

It did not look good early on for Central. North put two quick runs on the board in the first inning against the hard-throwing Campbell (4.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 4 K, 4 BB, 2 HBP), whose fastball was in the 86-89 range, touching 90. DePauw-bound first baseman Alex Moss (2-for-2, 2 walks, RBI) delivered an RBI single in the inning.

North looked like it was going to bust open the game in the top of the fifth, having already pushed a run across after consecutive singles and an error. But Central turned an impressive 4-6-3 double play on a smash by Navy-bound DH Conner Adamski, and the Huskies proceeded to strand the bases loaded after.

North threatened in the seventh, loading up the bases with two outs, but junior left-hander Jeff Schank wriggled out of the jam. Schank pitched 2.1 scoreless innings of relief to earn the victory. North stranded 14 runners, including eight in the final three innings.

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