Baseball: Lincoln-Way North lights up against Andrew
By Pat Disabato firstname.lastname@example.org May 1, 2014 7:50PM
Lincoln-Way North's Nick Pedraza (17) and Austin Konagel (4) congratulate Conor Grove (66) after he hit a three-run home run, May 1, 2014. | Allen Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 3, 2014 6:34AM
Lincoln-Way North make quick work of Andrew Thursday. Real quick.
The Phoenix exploded for eight runs in the first inning and eased to a 23-1 five-inning win over the Thunderbolts in a SouthWest Suburban Red mismatch.
North banged out 24 hits on the day, many of them looking like they were shot out of a cannon.
“It was crazy,” North coach Mitch Nowicki said. “The guys had a real solid approach at the plate, and it went our way.”
The first eight batters in North’s order reached base in the opening inning, with Conor Grove contributing a two-run single, Mike Rissley a two-run double and Josh Mutter a two-run triple. By the time North was finished hitting in its half of the first, it led 8-0.
“We were already down 8-0 before we even came in to hit,” said Andrew coach Dave DeHaan, whose team fell to 6-12, 2-5. “It’s tough. They hit the heck out of ball.”
The Phoenix (16-1, 7-0) didn’t stop hitting either, scoring eight runs in the second and seven in the fourth.
Grove had a monster game, adding a three run-homer and solo dinger for a six-RBI day. A slight adjustment in his approach paid major dividends.
“Getting my (front) foot down early (in pitcher’s delivery) really helped me a lot,” Grove said. “It felt good. It was awesome.”
Matt Kramer (2-for-2) came off the bench to contribute a grand slam in the fourth to make it 20-0.
Rissley (3-for-3, 2 RBI), Mutter (2-for-3, 3 RBI), Matt Troike (2-for-2, walk), Nick Pedraza (2-for-3), Brandon Butler (2-for-2, RBI) and Austin Konagel (2-for-4, 2 walks, RBI) all had multihit performances. Erik Eggert drove in two runs for North.
“We got some extra hitting in this week and the guys have been working hard,” Nowicki said.
Pitcher Joey Fredrickson (3-1) was the recipient of the run support. The senior allowed just one hit — a homer by Tom Bushnell — and struck out 10. While he appreciated the offensive explosion by his teammates, it didn’t alter his approach.
“I still have the attitude that’s 0-0,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who I’m pitching against, whether it’s the No. 1 team in the country or No. 1 team in the state. I like to compete.”
DeHaan is hoping his team will bounce back.
“We’ll keep working and playing hard,” he said. “We’re struggling, but we’re going to stay positive and get back at it on Saturday.”