Naperville North stays composed, beats Batavia
Throwing strikes and getting ahead of hitters are two of the most important qualities for any pitcher.
The ability to remain composed when things aren't going your way also helps.
Naperville North senior right-hander Mark Khoury (1-0) refused to be rattled by his team's defensive miscues, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits in 6 innings of work during the Huskies' 7-4 nonconference baseball triumph over Batavia (1-2) Thursday morning at Pfund Field in Wheaton.
Khoury, who walked 3 and struck out 4, escaped several jams not entirely of his own doing as the Huskies (1-3) committed 5 errors.
"As a captain, I've got to lead the team," said Khoury, who worked out of a bases-loaded, 1-out situation in the third inning thanks to a strikeout and a catch of a line drive off the bat of Kyle Niemiec by center fielder Alex Garon.
"I've got to keep my composure," said Khoury. "If there's an error, I've got to keep my head up high and keep encouraging my teammates. I've just got to work through it."
"You can see that it didn't affect him at all," Huskies coach Carl Hunckler said of his team's 5 errors. "When he got through an inning, he was the first one giving encouragement to his teammates. He's a great leader."
Naperville North touched Bulldogs sophomore starting pitcher Glenn Albanese (0-1) for a pair of first-inning runs.
Garon singled and stole second before Paul Dobravec sliced an RBI triple to right. Dobravec later scored on a passed ball.
In the second, the Huskies doubled their lead as Christian Barczi reached on a 1-out walk and Sam Lascala smacked a sinking liner to right that eluded the Bulldogs' outfielder and turned into a 2-run inside-the-park-home run.
"We had a couple balls in right field -- those should be singles," said Batavia coach Matt Holm. "Right now, all of our starting outfielders are nagging something so we have a totally inexperienced outfield out there.
"I guess they've got make their mistakes to learn something."
Garon (2-for-3) led off the sixth with a triple to deep center and scored on Khoury's single through the drawn-in infield.
Albanese, a hard-throwing right-hander, allowed 7 runs (4 earned) on 5 hits with a walk and 8 strikeouts.
"He used a lot of different pitches," Holm said of his starting pitcher. "He kept the ball down. The biggest thing that we worked on from last year to this spring is composure on the mound. When things weren't going his way, he actually got stronger and stronger as the game went along.
"Glenn looked sharp -- we didn't play defense behind him."
Luke Beckmann broke up Khoury's shutout bid with a sixth-inning RBI single before the Bulldogs made things interesting with a 3-run seventh.
Junior southpaw Matt Pillatsch, the Huskies' third pitcher of the inning, induced a double-play grounder and a fly ball to end the game.
"We've got to learn to play the full game," said Hunckler. "(Getting) the last three outs is very difficult against a good hitting team and a very good program.
"Other than the strikeouts (11), we did some nice things offensively with our baserunning as well as getting a couple bunts down and being aggressive at the plate. We know we need to fix some things. We're in that process right now."