With starting pitcher Dan Schmidt struggling early, Cary-Grove baseball coach Don Sutherland wasn't sure who he would summon to the mound in relief.
Sutherland decided to bring in little-used Willie Hartke, who hadn't pitched in a month, in relief of Schmidt.
Good decision by the Trojans' veteran coach.
Hartke, who came into the game with no outs in the third inning, blanked Dundee-Crown in 5 innings of work on 4 singles to earn the win as the Trojans rallied for a 7-5 Fox Valley Conference Valley Division win over D-C Wednesday afternoon in Cary.
"I just came into the game and took a deep breath and just wanted to throw strikes," said Hartke. "All my pitches were working and I was able to throw my splitter as an off-speed pitch. It feels great to pitch again and help the team win."
Sutherland was pleased with Hartke's effort.
"We wish Dan could have pitched longer into the game, but it wasn't his day," said Sutherland. "Willie came in and threw strikes and kept the batters off stride. He really battled and was outstanding."
The Trojans (15-8, 9-3) broke a 5-5 tie in the bottom of the sixth with 2 runs on RBI doubles by seniors Dean Christakes and Andrew Splitt.
"Our leaders really came up with the big hit," said Sutherland. 'This is a good win. Dundee-Crown is a very good team."
The Chargers (10-12, 7-6) broke a 2-2 deadlock with 3 in the top of the third, keyed by a leadoff solo homer from Zach Girard. Vince Damato, the losing pitcher, and No. 9 hitter Chase Bloch contributed RBI singles as D-C built a 5-2 lead.
But the resilient Trojans bounced back in the bottom of the inning with 3 to tie the game at 5. The key hits in the inning were run-scoring singles by Will McGarrigle and Larkin Hanselmann.
Splitt and Christakes led the Trojans' 10-hit attack with 2 hits and an RBI apiece.
Brett Johnson and Bloch (2 RBI) paced the Chargers with 2 hits apiece.
"I really liked the way we swung the bats tonight," said Dundee-Crown coach Jon Anderson. "Our pitch selection was very good tonight. We have had trouble in that area this year. We hit the ball hard the whole game. Vince struggled early but settled down and did a nice job."