Naperville Central's Bobby McMillen wasn't thinking home run when he stepped to the plate for another clutch at-bat.
The ball had other ideas.
McMillen's 2-run laser-beam homer in the bottom of the sixth inning rallied the Redhawks to Tuesday's 5-4 victory over visiting Naperville North to earn Naperville Central the outright DuPage Valley Conference championship.
McMillen went 4-for-4 with 3 runs scored and 3 RBI to help the Redhawks (20-11, 15-5) end a mild two-game losing streak since sealing a share of the title last week.
McMillen and complete-game winning pitcher Pat Maloney made sure the wait ended Tuesday.
"I'm not thinking home run in any situation, I'm just thinking I've got to hit the ball hard and get on base," the junior left fielder said. "Sometimes it does go out, and it was the right time and the right moment."
Like in Monday's 12-inning Naperville North (13-15, 8-11) victory, the Huskies stayed close the entire way. They led 1-0 on Mike Laurenzo's first-inning sacrifice fly and surged to a 4-3 lead in the top of the third on Mark Khoury's 3-run double off the left-field fence that just missed being a home run.
"I thought it was a great high school game," said Naperville North coach Carl Hunckler. "What it came down to is they had a clutch hit that cleared the fence and we were short 1 foot. Otherwise we have that extra run as well."
The Huskies and starting pitcher Robert Leonard kept the 4-3 advantage until the bottom of the sixth when Naperville Central's Jason Wegner led off with a single and McMillen followed with his fifth homer of the season on a first-pitch fastball.
Maloney -- 7-0 in the DVC this season -- retired the Huskies in order in the seventh to seal the win. The senior righty scattered 7 hits, struck out three, walked one and hit a batter.
"I had faith in our team the whole time," Maloney said. "It's great to clinch the DVC. It was just a lot of fun today."
Run-scoring singles by McMillen and Luke Daley gave Naperville Central a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first. The lead grew to 3-1 in the third on another Luke Daley RBI single.
The series concludes Wednesday at North Central College.
"We play for championships, and it starts with the DVC," said Redhawks coach Mike Stock, whose program claimed its second straight DVC title. "We got it done, and now we'll continue to work."
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