Christian Taugner's first step this season looks like it'll lead to a giant leap.
The Lake Park senior pitcher said he felt strong in his first outing on Friday, and it definitely showed on the mound. Taugner struck out nine over 5 scoreless innings and scattered 3 hits while leading the Lancers to an 8-4 victory over Glenbard North at Boomers Stadium in Schaumburg.
Contact information ( * required )
For just the second time on grass this spring, the Lancers (1-0) looked surprisingly sharp. Taugner, in front of an errorless defense, was especially sharp.
"It's just our second day outside but I felt really good on the mound," said Taugner, who will attend Brown next year. "I just had to get those first-day jitters out. I've always had confidence in this team. We've looked good inside, because that's all we've been able to do. But we've been solid."
Taugner and Glenbard North (1-1) starter Matt Albin breezed through two innings before Lake Park struck for 4 runs in the top of the third. Even though the Lancers failed to execute a squeeze bunt, they still scored the game's first run when Devin Rybacki came home on a dropped rundown throw.
After a wild pitch plated a second run, Taugner smacked a 2-run single to center field to make it 4-0. Another wild pitch led to Lake Park's fifth run in the fourth inning.
"We made a lot of defensive mistakes that put us in a hole," said Glenbard North coach Rich Smelko. "When you're going against one of the area's top pitchers and you're making all those mistakes, we got put behind the eight ball. Once he got that lead it became much tougher."
Glenbard North (1-1) struck for 4 runs in the bottom of the sixth with Taugner out of the game. Jeff LaPage, Brett Consitt and Brandon Kressner each had run-scoring hits, but the inning ended with a play at the plate and the Lancers still holding a 5-4 lead.
Lake Park answered with 3 runs in the top of the seventh to build a more comfortable 8-4 advantage. A wild pitch and sacrifice flies by Taugner and Dom Romito added the insurance.
Ryan Storto went 3-for-4 for Glenbard North while Anthony Gallina and Rybacki had a pair of hits for Lake Park.
"We held the lead and then it was really good to see our kids answer and come back in the seventh," said Lancers coach Dan Colucci. "The first game of the year, second time outside. We'll take it."
Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevin_schmit