And just like that, Naperville Central's baseball team controls its own destiny in the DuPage Valley Conference.
The Redhawks edged Wheaton North twice Saturday, beating the host Falcons 4-2 in the continuation of a suspended game from Thursday and then claiming a 5-3 victory in the second game.
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Combined with the Saturday split between Glenbard North and Wheaton Warrenville South, Naperville Central (16-5, 11-3) now holds sole possession of first place in the DVC. Wheaton North (17-5, 9-4), Glenbard North and WW South each have four losses.
"You have to stay level-headed," said Redhawks senior pitcher Cody Campbell, who won Game 2. "You can't take any team too easily. Every team's good. We've just got to come out with the same intensity we did today and take it to these guys again on Tuesday."
Wheaton North, if it beats West Chicago on Monday, gets a chance to pull even with the Redhawks Tuesday in Naperville. Judging by Saturday, Naperville Central won't make it easy.
The first game, resumed in the bottom of the fifth with a 2-2 tie, came down to a pair of runs driven in by Jason Wegner's two-out, 2-run single in the top of the seventh. Wegner, pitching his third inning of relief, put two runners on with two outs in the bottom of the seventh before Zach Aranoff saved the game with a game-ending strikeout.
The Falcons stranded five runners in just three innings of the continued game, and added eight stranded runners in the second game. Naperville Central turned three double plays in Game 2 including one that ended the game on runner's interference at second base.
One batter before, Tom Colletti narrowed the margin to 5-3 with a 2-run single that put runners on first and third. Wheaton North couldn't convert with the winning run at the plate.
"We faced some good arms today, so that has something to do with that," said Falcons coach Dan Schoessling. "They made plays, turned a couple double plays that really made a difference. We've got to be better when we see them again on Tuesday. We're one game out and still a long way to go. We'll see what happens."
After Brendan Daley's first-inning RBI single spotted Naperville Central to a 1-0 lead in the second game, Nicky Lopez led off the third inning with a home run to make it 2-0. Brian Schiemann drove in a fourth-inning run with a single and Bobby McMillan's 2-run single in the fifth put the Redhawks ahead 5-1.
"Everyone just made plays and hit the ball well today," Wegner said. "It's been a long couple days, but it was good to come out here and win."
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