Wheaton Academy baseball coach Brad Byrne has been working to keep Ryan Beck's bat in the lineup.
Thursday showed why.
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The senior first baseman launched a pair of 3-run homers to power the Warriors to a 12-1 five-inning Suburban Christian Conference victory over IC Catholic Prep in West Chicago.
Beck had been playing third base when Luke Kram pitches, but Byrne shifted Beck to first to get him more consistent at-bats. The move paid major dividends on a warm day with the wind blowing out.
"We just saw the ball really well today, and we changed our approach as a team," said Beck, who has 3 home runs on the season. "Just putting the bat on the ball. We were just swinging up there, making contact, putting the ball in play and making them make plays."
Wheaton Academy (12-11, 5-6) trailed 1-0 after a half inning, but the Warriors quickly grabbed control with a 4-run bottom of the first. Chris Johnson started it off with a leadoff homer, and four batters later Beck blasted his first 3-run shot.
A 6-run second inning followed for the Warriors. Jake Lindstedt's 2-run double set the stage for Beck's second 3-run homer that landed in nearly the exact same spot.
"I keep telling our guys not to look at our record, we're a good team," Byrne said. "We do a lot of things well. There are going to be a lot of teams in our regional and sectional that aren't going to want to play us."
IC Catholic Prep (14-16, 8-7) scored on Austin Reed's RBI ground out in the top of the first, but the Knights managed only the 1 run despite having the bases loaded with no outs.
Escaping without further damage allowed Wheaton Academy starting pitcher Michael Moses to settle into a tough day to pitch. Even with the wind blowing out to a short fence, the Knights struggled to mount anything against Moses in their final four trips to the plate.
Reed, in fact, had IC Catholic Prep's lone hit in the third inning. Moses struck out seven and walked four.
The Warriors reached their double-digit margin in the bottom of the fourth when Lindstedt doubled home a run and Brett Albaugh added an RBI single.
"This was unexpected, obviously we wanted to be in the game," said Knights coach Zach Rodeghero. "Give them a lot of credit. They hit the ball and got out of a jam early. Wind's blowing out, short porch in left. They took advantage."
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