Naperville Central opened its DuPage Valley Conference title defense in convincing fashion on Wednesday.
Six Redhawks finished with multiple hits and senior pitcher Pat Maloney went the distance and struck out seven batters during a 10-3 victory over Lake Park in the conference opener for both teams.
Naperville Central (6-5, 1-0) tallied 11 of its 14 hits in the first three innings and spotted Maloney an 8-run cushion.
"Everyone was ripping the ball off the fence and that gets us excited and I get excited on the mound," Maloney said. "It's a lot more comforting knowing that you have a big lead to work with and I was able to lay back a little more and not worry about the runners as much."
The Redhawks got to Lake Park pitcher Rhett Rapshus early as they scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning.
Luke Daley ripped a 2-run double to left center, followed by an RBI double up the middle from Kevin Clifford and an RBI single by Michael Kolzow that drove in Clifford for a 4-0 lead.
Kenny Schutz got the Lancers (3-4, 0-1) on the board in the top of the second when he drove in James Palmer on a single.
Naperville Central broke the game open in the third with five runs as the Redhawks batted around in the inning.
Daley hit a single to left that scored Bobby McMillen and Brendan Daley.
After Kolzow and Jack Alberts each hit an RBI single that drove in Clifford and Dan Dolehide respectively, Rapshus was replaced by Steve Joyce.
"It's really important for us to get the offense going early and that's what we did today," Daley said. "I think one through nine hit the ball well and one of our goals is to score first. When we do that, we've been winning."
Joyce held the Redhawks scoreless over the next 2⅓ innings with 3 strikeouts.
Schutz drove in Lake Park's second run in the top of the fourth on a flyball single to right field that scored Anthony Gallina.
Palmer scored on a groundout by Brandon Popp later in the inning, but Maloney settled down and retired seven of the next nine batters he faced.
"Pat (Maloney) is a competitor," Naperville Central coach Mike Stock said. "Every time he's out there, whether he's got his good stuff or his not-so-good stuff, you can't tell the difference because he's working really hard."