Baseball: Schufreider silences Lake Forest in Grayslake Central's sectional win

Grayslake Central senior pitcher Will Schufreider told his father when he began in the Rams baseball program his freshman year that he had a dream of being their starting pitcher in a sectional final at home.

"I told (him) wouldn't it be cool," Schufreider said.

On Saturday, that dream became a reality as he ran up to home plate to accept Central's seventh sectional championship plaque and first since 2019.

The Rams dominated Lake Forest 10-0 in six innings to advance to the Wintrust Field supersectional in Schaumburg versus Fenwick (17-16) Monday evening.

The Friars bested St. Patrick 5-2 to win the Dominican University sectional in River Forest Saturday afternoon.

For Schufreider, a College of Lake County recruit, it also gave him a nice additional birthday present, his 18th, as well as gaining a shot of redemption for dropping a 1-0 sectional decision to Crystal Lake South in last year's sectional semifinal.

"I kind of knew what I had to do to be back here. I adjusted my defense (so) I just let them hit the ball right at them," Schufreider said. "I didn't try to do too much. I was just trying to be the best version of myself (on the mound)."

That version stifled fourth-seeded Lake Forest (21-16) as he went the distance giving up just three hits while striking out four.

In fact, the Scouts never had a runner reach third the entire day.

"That's his M.O.," Central coach Troy Whalen said of his starting pitcher getting stronger as the game heads into the later innings.

In combination with his three-inning effort in Thursday's sectional game has Schufreider allowing just one run in nine innings over the past 72 hours.

"I feel great. I want to go back out there," Schufreider said with a smile and a laugh after taking the sectional title plaque for a ride around the diamond with his teammates.

Offensively, the Rams (32-7) backed up their starting hurler with a 14-hit outburst that would chase Lake Forest starter Josh Dueringer after only 3 1/3 innings on the mound during the decisive fourth inning.

In that inning, Central tallied five runs with RBI singles from left fielder Jack Gerbasi and right fielder Adam Fitzgerald and a two-run base hit from first baseman Chris Rogers that left them comfortably ahead 7-0.

The game's end came two innings later in the bottom of the sixth when Rogers' second RBI single was followed three at-bats later by a two-run single by shortstop Sam Cooper that would see second baseman Garrett Guenther follow Rogers in with run No. 10.

He slid to home plate going headfirst triggering the victorious celebration.

It left a positive impression on Whalen as he gets ready to coach in his seventh supersectional.

"If I could bottle that game in my 20 years of coaching, I would've never lost a game," Whalen said. "That's how well our guys played. When you can get timely hitting, (when) you can execute and get great pitching from Will and play great team defense, that's a (winning) recipe for what you saw (today)."

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