Baseball: Libertyville's homer barrage does in St. Viator
Someone out there probably has a nice little ding on the roof of his or her car.
A silver SUV that was heading westbound on Route 176 past Libertyville High School Thursday afternoon unexpectedly became part of a home run parade put on by the host Wildcats.
Libertyville's baseball team smashed 3 home runs in a 7-4 nonconference victory over visiting St. Viator, and the SUV was in the wrong place at the wrong time for Sam Paden's blast into left field.
Paden's doozy, well over the 305-foot fence and into the street, was his first home run of the season.
"I didn't see what it hit, but I saw the ball pop up pretty high, so I figured it caught something," said Paden, Libertyville's left fielder.
When told the ball hit the top of the SUV, Paden grinned.
"Nice," he said. "But hopefully, I don't have to pay anything."
Paden's home run was part of a first inning that paid off big for the Wildcats.
Not only did Paden hit a home run, so did shortstop Tanner Kelly. The 2 home runs were part of a 5-run first inning that set a dominating tone for Libertyville, which improved to 15-12 on the season.
"Dylan Drumke, Derek Calamari, Will Murphy and Ben Lopez also had hits in the inning.
"When you put the ball in play and hit it like we did, everyone is more confident the entire game," Paden said. "Tanner hit his home run first and that kind of sparked the rally and everyone got louder in the dugout. It brought everyone together. A big first inning is a huge part of the game."
St. Viator started the game with a run of its own in the top of the first inning and then scored 2 runs in the second off of RBI by Tony Pluta and Conor Warner. But Libertyville was able to keep St. Viator at arm's length the rest of the way.
And the Wildcats added two more runs in the fourth inning for a cushion when David Robertson smashed another home run, Libertyville's third of the day, over the left field fence.
"You never want to give up a home run, but sometimes I actually think that clearing the bases can help you reset," St. Viator coach Mike Manno said. "I think it lessens the damage. And it did for us today. We didn't let (the rallies) just keep going.
"But they did square up some balls, though, so you've got to tip your hat to them. They're a good team. This is our second loss to them in a week."
Libertyville defeated St. Viator, which is now 14-12 on the season, last Thursday as well. The series sweep gives the Wildcats confidence heading into the state playoffs.
"We hit (St. Viator) a little bit last week too, so that also gave us confidence," Libertyville coach Matt Thompson said. "They're a good team but our team was ready. Our team is taking good approaches at the plate right now."