Dean Christakes seems the perfect leadoff for the Cary-Grove Trojans. He rarely strikes out, has a high on-base percentage and has some occasional power.
All of Christakes' offensive skills were on display during Cary-Grove's 13-4 Fox Valley Conference win over Crystal Lake Central Thursday afternoon in Crystal Lake. Christakes, who went 3-for-5 with a double and 3 RBI, stole 2 bases and scored 2 runs as the Trojans pounded four Tiger pitchers for 14 hits.
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"I like leading off so I can see a lot of pitches, but still be aggressive," said the Cary-Grove senior shortstop. "Suds (coach Don Sutherland) wants me to be aggressive. I really saw the ball well today and got some good swings."
Sutherland, Cary-Grove's veteran coach, likes Christakes in the leadoff slot in the lineup.
"Dean could bat 1, 2, 3 and 4 in the lineup," said Sutherland. "He has that type of flexibility. Being one of the few kids who played last year he is one of our leaders. He is aggressive and selective. He is our perfect leadoff hitter."
Christakes was one of the catalysts as Cary-Grove seized control of the game early with 7 runs in the second inning. Christakes and Jason Barrett contributed 2-run singles while Matt Sutherland and Will McGarrigle had run-scoring singles as 11 batters came to the plate. The Trojans added two in the third on a solo homer by Connor Leach and an RBI double from McGarrigle. The Trojans scored a run in the fourth on a solo homer by John Carrone, another in the sixth on an RBI single by McGarrigle and two in the seventh on an RBI double by Christakes and a sacrifice fly from Wyatt Mascarella.
McGarrigle was a perfect 3-for-3 from the plate with a double and 3 RBI. Jim Perkins had 2 doubles and an RBI and winning pitcher Larkin Hanselmann had 2 hits with an RBI. Hanselmann, who retired the first six batters he faced, worked the first 6 innings to earn the win. The junior allowed 3 runs on 4 hits while striking out 6 and walking 3. Will Hartke worked the seventh and allowed a meaningless run.
"Larkin pitched a very good game," said Sutherland. "He had good stuff and pitched with the lead very well."