Naperville Central off to a good start
Though it is only the last week of March, Charlie Walzer already appeared in midseason form on Tuesday.
And so did his Naperville Central teammates.
The senior right-hander looked strong in his five innings of work, striking out six while helping the Redhawks to a 4-3 victory over Joliet Catholic in Naperville.
Walzer yielded 4 hits and a pair of walks in his second start as Naperville Central improved to 3-0.
"I was happy I could execute my pitches," Walzer said, "but I give all the credit to the guys in the field. We have great guys behind our pitchers and they inspire you to pitch better. We definitely have a great defense this year."
Walzer left with the home team ahead by a 4-2 margin. The visiting Hilltoppers then scored a single run in the sixth and had runners on first and third with nobody out in the seventh.
But junior Alec Nuckols wiggled out of that jam, inducing a pop-up before fanning a pair of hitters, the last coming with the bases loaded.
"We want to make sure we are playing good programs ahead of conference," said Naperville Central coach Mike Stock, whose team opened the season with a pair of wins against Fremd. "Joliet Catholic, they are always good and it is fun to play them. I thought both teams picked up the groundballs and the pitchers threw strikes."
Stock was also impressed once again with his starting hurler.
"Charlie works really hard," he said, "and he is always ready to go. He attacks every time he is out there with great urgency. He's all business and his teammates feed off that."
Trailing 1-0 in the early stages, the Redhawks scored all four of their runs with two outs in the third. Ryan Eiermann put his team ahead for good with a 2-run single up the middle, and Connor Gurnik followed with a run-scoring hit before Jack Hughes drove in another with a double.
"It's a huge win," Eiermann said. "They are a great team every year, but I thought we looked really good. This is certainly one of the closest teams we've had in a while, it's just fun to play. And I think we are an all-around solid team, from defense to offense."
Michael Oliver also cranked out a double for Naperville Central.