Tyler Lewan and the Dundee-Crown baseball team didn't let a 79-minute weather delay stunt their momentum for long in a 5-4 win at Hampshire on Saturday.
The Chargers jumped to a 2-0 first-inning lead on Lewan's two-out single, which scored Brett Johnson and Zach Girard.
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Then a nearby rumble of thunder forced the umpires to halt the game in the bottom of the first with a 2-2 count on Hampshire leadoff hitter Mike Kruse, which gave the District 300 players, many of them middle school classmates, time to reconnect in the school's field house.
Post-reunion, Hampshire (2-8, 0-5) scored single runs in the first and second innings to knot the game at 2-2, but Lewan put Dundee-Crown back on top with his RBI groundout in the third. Scoring from third base was Mark Waldron, who drew a leadoff walk against Hampshire starting pitcher Trey Schramm.
"We came out hot," Lewan said. "We looked for the ball and saw the ball. We played well. I don't think (the delay) affected us too much."
Junior Riley Alvarado subsequently slapped a sharp single off the first baseman's mitt and beat the toss to the pitcher, allowing Girard to score for a 4-2 lead.
Dundee-Crown (5-6, 3-1) scored a fifth run in the top of the sixth when Alvarado led off with a single, advanced on Sam Ray's sacrifice bunt, stole third and scored on Chase Bloch's infield single. That insurance run proved to be critical as it turned out because Hampshire rallied for a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Corey Michaelsen reached on an error and moved to third via Schramm's double. Michaelsen scored on a passed ball from D-C starting pitcher Jared Ludwig, which prompted coach Jon Anderson to call on sophomore reliever Dan Denz, a lefty. Denz coaxed a groundball to second base by Mike Merchut, scoring Schramm, but Denz ended the threat by inducing a lazy flyball to right field for the third out.
Hampshire's Colin Gogoel reached on an infield single with two outs in the seventh, but Denz got Kruse to ground into a fielder's choice to end the game.
"He's been effective in those situations, so I'm trying to get him some innings," Anderson said of Denz in relief. "I'm confident about him going out there and throwing strikes."
It was the second save of the season for Denz, who paid attention to how balls and strikes were being called before he entered the game.
"The umpire had been pounding the outside corner a lot," he said, "so I wanted to pound the outside of the zone and maybe roll a groundball or something like that. I just felt really good."
Schramm took the loss, but only 2 of the 5 runs charged to him were earned. He allowed 8 hits and 3 walks and struck out 6, thanks to a breaking ball that improved as the game went on.
"The thing I'm optimistic about is (Schramm) and coach (Frank) Simoncelli worked on the thumb adjustment on the breaking ball," Hampshire coach John Sarna said. "He was able to command that a heck of a lot better at the end of the game, so it's just unfortunate we didn't make the plays we needed to."
Hampshire made 2 errors in losing its sixth straight overall and fifth straight Fox Valley Conference crossover against a Valley Division team.
"We have to get better," Sarna added. "And we will."