No one loved a good old fashioned pitchers' duel as much as hall of fame baseball coach Phil Lawler, who passed away in 2010.
On an afternoon honoring his memory, Benet and Naperville Central paid him the ultimate tribute with two magnificent outings on the mound.
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Redwings starter Pat Peterson struck out 13 in a complete-game effort as Benet held on for Thursday's 2-1 victory over host Naperville Central, which held a pregame dedication of Legacy Plaza down the left-field line.
The modest park at Legacy Plaza will be a tribute to many, but on Thursday -- with Lawler's son Scott coaching Benet and many friends and family in attendance -- all thoughts were with the legacy of Phil Lawler. The longtime Redhawks pitching coach will have a flag with his name and jersey No. 29 fly just below the American flag high above the plaza on game days.
"I think he'd be pretty happy because the guy liked pitching duels," said Scott Lawler, a 1995 Naperville Central graduate. "A quick game and a lot of good pitching. I think he would have been pleased."
Peterson outdueled Naperville Central starter Pat Maloney, who allowed lone runs in the fourth and sixth innings before exiting for a reliever.
The Redhawks (3-5) scored their run in the bottom of the seventh on Bill Oliver's two-out RBI single. Oliver went to second base on a wild pitch, but Peterson closed out the win by coaxing a groundout to first.
"I haven't had a complete game in a while because I always get my pitch count a little too high," said Peterson, who scattered five hits and walked one. "I kept it low today and was able to finish finally. I really felt the intensity. I tried to stay calm but still deliver the pitches I needed."
Benet (5-3) struck first in the top of the fourth when Chris Whelan singled and eventually came home on Joe Boyle's single. Whelan drove in the insurance run in the sixth with a double that scored Anthony Rendina.
Whelan went 3-for-3 while Rendina added 2 hits for Benet. Maloney allowed 6 hits while striking out six and walking one.
"We needed to put a little more pressure on them and be more aggressive earlier in counts," said Naperville Central coach Mike Stock, whose team struck out six times looking. "Their kid pitched well, and I was proud of Pat Maloney for the job he did. They just had a couple more good at-bats than we did."
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