Fate favors Lakes in NSC Prairie race
Lakes' baseball team needed a win Tuesday and needed a little help.
The Eagles got both.
Lakes pounded out 10 hits, including two apiece by Ben Milewski and Matt Nordlund, and rallied to beat visiting Antioch 7-2. With Vernon Hills beating North Suburban Prairie Division leader Grant 7-0, Lakes finished in a tie for first place. Due to run differential in the teams' two division games, Lakes (20-8-1, 10-2) won the tiebreaker with Grant (10-2) and will play host Mundelein in Thursday's NSC championship game.
It's Lakes' third Prairie Division championship in its history.
Justin Blasinski was 1-for-3 with a double, run scored and 2 RBI for the Eagles, which trailed 2-1 before scoring 5 runs in the bottom of the fifth. Nordlund also doubled. Billy Morris (3-0) earned the win, pitching 2 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of starter Jeremy Mackey. Morris allowed just 1 hit, struck out one and walked two.
Antioch (4-8 NSC Prairie) received 2 hits from Connor Kaiser and a double from Michael Mentone. Dominic Olesak had a single and 2 RBI.
Vernon Hills 7, Grant 0: The Cougars' 20th win was a sweet one.
A day after coach Jay Czarnecki said his team was "embarrassed" in a 15-3 loss in Fox Lake, the Cougars turned to sophomore Chick Smith to right the ship. Smith responded in a big way, as he kept the heavy-hitting Bulldogs off-balance all day.
Smith threw a complete-game shutout, allowing only 3 hits while striking out 10 hitters. Vernon Hills backed its pitcher with errorless defense.
Grant (10-2) needed to win to secure a berth in Thursday's NSC championship game at Mundelein. Instead, despite finishing in a tie for first place in the Prairie Division, the Bulldogs will not play for the conference title.
Vernon Hills (8-4 NSC Prairie) scored all the runs it needed in the bottom of the first. With two out, Connor McNamara (2-for-3, triple, 3 runs) singled and moved to third on an errant pickoff attempt. Robby Nardini (3-for-3, double, 3 runs, 3 RBI) continued his hot streak, as he doubled home McNamara. Jack Duffley (3-for-3, 3 RBI) then singled in Nardini for a 2-0 lead.
VH extended the lead in the third. McNamara again starting things off, as he tripled. Nardini singled to bring home McNamara. Three pitches later, Duffley reached on a fielder's choice. Nardini moved to third and eventually scored when the throw hit Duffley in the foot and rebounded down the right-field line.
The last of the Cougar runs came in the fourth with some clutch two-out hitting. Drew Winegardner (1-for-4) singled. After McNarmara was hit by a pitch, Nardini singled to drive home Winegardner. Duffley later delivered a single, scoring both McNamara and Nardini.
Grant got a 2-for-3 effort from James Pendley.
Wauconda 10, North Chicago 0: Jefferson Moorhead and Pierson Gibis were both 4-for-5 for the Bulldogs in the North Suburban Prairie finale.
Trevor Sefcik and Drake Tylka were each 3-for-4 for Wauconda (8-4 NSC Prairie).
Warren 14, Deerfield 2: Noah Daniel went 3-for-4 with a double, and Andrew Hill was 2-for-4 with a homer and 4 RBI, as the Blue Devils won the nonconference game.
Michael Rosenberg also doubled for Warren (22-10).
Lake Forest 1, Stevenson 0: A day after Jacob Nusinow fired a six-inning no-hitter in Lincolnshire, the Patriots received another strong pitching performance.
This time, however, Stevenson (20-11-1, 6-6) lost to the Scouts, who captured the North Suburban Lake finale in walk-off fashion in the seventh.
Tyler Pauly pitched 6 1/3 innings for the Patriots, allowing only 3 hits and the 1 run. He struck out six and walked one.
Zion-Benton 7, Libertyville 3: The Wildcats mustered just 4 hits in the North Suburban Lake finale.
Riley Lees and Jack Peterson were both 1-for-3 with an RBI for Libertyville (6-6). Mitchell Townsend, who underwent Tommy John surgery last year, pitched an inning for the Wildcats, allowing 2 unearned runs and striking out three.
Lake Zurich 7, Mundelein 1: Austin Wells was 3-for-4 with an RBI for the Bears in the North Suburban Lake finale.
Brendan Murphy was 2-for-2 for Mundelein (24-8, 9-3), which clinched the division title Monday.