As two-time defending DuPage Valley Conference champion, Wheaton North's baseball team knows how to separate the sprints from the marathons.
So while the Falcons took a moment to celebrate Monday's come-from-behind 5-3 road victory over Naperville North, the moment didn't last long.
"It's always great to get the first victory in the first conference series," said Falcons senior center fielder Ryan Kent. "They're a good team, they can swing the bat. We just played great team baseball today."
After Naperville North (4-3, 0-1) took a 3-2 lead on John Sagen's 2-run double in the bottom of the third, Wheaton North (8-1, 1-0) reclaimed a 4-3 lead in the top of the fourth on RBI singles by River Williams and Kent.
The Falcons then put the game in the trusted hands of starting pitcher Lake Bachar, who struck out 10 over 6 innings to earn the win. Doug Hayes struck out two in 1-2-3 seventh for the save.
Twelve strikeouts certainly aren't the norm for Naperville North, but what frustrated Huskies coach Carl Hunckler most were the seven strikeouts looking. The Huskies simply needed to be more aggressive against a pitcher intent on firing strikes.
"That's a cardinal sin for us," Hunckler said. "We don't do that. Put the ball in play, make the defense play with it and good things happen."
Jeff Harper's 2-run single in the second inning spotted Wheaton North to a 2-0 lead against the Huskies and starter Colin Ash, who went 5-plus innings. With the 4-3 lead in the top of the sixth, the Falcons added an insurance run when Kent reached on an error and scored on a line drive single by Tom Colletti.
Colletti and Zach Leander each had 2 hits for the Falcons. Four players had hits for Naperville North but none in the final four innings when the Huskies put only two runners on base.
"Once you start the DVC the feel is a little bit different, it's a little bit more exciting," said Falcons coach Dan Schoessling. "It's good to get the first game down and get a 'W,' but there's a long way to go. There's not going to be one series that we can say is going to be an easy series."
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