Down to its last strike, Grayslake Central pulled out a win on the road Friday.
Mike Stone tripled with 2 outs in the seventh inning to lead the Rams past Hampshire, 6-5, in Fox Valley Conference Fox Division baseball action in Hampshire.
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Stone's hit made a winner out of Russ Lundius, who settled down after giving up 4 runs in the second inning. Justin Guryn got the final 3 outs for the save.
Kyle Clark had 3 hits and an RBI for Grayslake Central (15-8, 9-5).
"It's tough to win on the road in this conference," said Rams' coach Troy Whalen. "Both teams had chances, and neither of us executed at times like we would have liked to. I don't think this game will go into the video of how to play the game."
Whalen lauded Stone's big hit, but also gave some credit to an unlikely source: Matt Loeffl, who struck out just before Stone came up.
"Give him credit for having about a 14-pitch at-bat," said Whalen. "That takes a lot out of a pitcher, it really does."
Hampshire led 5-4 after three innings. The Whip-Purs scored 5 runs with just 1 RBI, a single by RJ Consigny in the second. Dillon Kuhn and Brandon Bowen stole home on double steals, and the Whips scored on a wild pitch and an errant pickoff throw by Lundius.
The big second inning gave Hampshire a 4-1 lead, but the Rams came back to tie it in the third. Freddie Landers, Clark, and Loeffl drove in the runs.
Hampshire regained the lead on Bowen's steal of home in the third. Lundius and Hampshire starter Alex Crinigan both settled down and the score stayed the same until the seventh.
Hampshire (9-13) had some chances to pad the lead, including a first-and-third, no out situation in the fourth. A popped up bunt led to a double play, and Lundius then retired the next 7 in a row.
"We earned those runs that we got but, unfortunately, when it mattered, we couldn't get them in," said Hampshire coach John Sarna.
Consigny finished with 3 hits and a walk for Hampshire.