Prep Baseball Report

No. 22 Neuqua Valley in mid-season form

By Drake Skleba

HINSDALE – No. 22 Neuqua Valley exploded out of the chutes in its season-opener with a resounding 11-0 victory in five innings over Hinsdale Central. The Upstate 8 Conference Valley Division favorites scored twice in the first inning and then exploded for eight runs in the second inning, turning the lights out early on Hinsdale Central.

“The kids played so well today. It looked like they had played a dozen games, instead of this being our season-opener,” said Neuqua Valley head coach Robin Renner.

With University of Illinois-bound RHP Nick Blackburn (1-0) on the hill for the Wildcats, there was a quiet optimism on the Wildcat bench before the game.

Purdue-bound CF Jack Amaro ripped a booming triple to leadoff the ballgame and the Wildcats were off to the races. The ‘Cats plated a pair in the first and then exploded for eight runs in the second inning.

Amaro doubled home a run. Junior 1B Cody Coll singled home a pair of runs and junior RF Jeff Evak singled twice in the inning, the second one driving home a run.

“We all came together today and really hit well,” said Amaro. “I hit the ball well today but we owe this victory to Nick Blackburn, who threw a gem out there for us today.”

Blackburn, although not dominant, shut out the Red Devils over four innings. Blackburn allowed three singles and struck out three to pick up his first win of 2012.

“I pitched OK today,” said Blackburn. “With the outstanding offensive support I received, I didn’t have anything to worry about, so I just threw strikes and got them out.”

Blackburn’s battery-mate, junior C Dylan Goss, had a pair of hits, including a double and drove home a run. Senior LF Nick Iarrobino singled his first three trips to the plate and settled for a 3-for-4 day.

“We worked real hard in preparation for this game,” said Iarrobino.”We wanted to come out and be the best we could be. I think we accomplished that today. Hitting is contagious and it really cascaded for us today. I saw the ball well and I hope I can keep it up for the entire season.”

Hinsdale Central (0-3) received hits from senior RF Will Howson, junior C Tyler Ward and senior 2B Sam Lucente.

Neuqua Valley junior LHP Dan Mokrzycki finished the game with a flourish in relief of Blackburn in the fifth. The crafty lefty struck out the side to finish off this resounding victory.

“We really hit the ball well today,” added Renner. “We had 12 hits and beat up on a very good team.”