Baseball: Naperville Central sweeps Naperville North
There were smiles and high-fives all around -- and with good reason -- but first came plenty of hard work from the Naperville Central baseball players.
The joyful Redhawks completed a 3-game sweep of their archrival Naperville North with an 11-1 victory on the Huskies field Thursday, which was proceeded by defeats of their DuPage Valley Conference foes on Monday and Tuesday.
Naperville Central scored in six of the seven frames and starter Charlie Diiulio and two relievers limited the Huskies to just one run while the visitors improved to 11-3 on the year and 7-2 in conference.
"We've got a neat mix with strong senior leadership and we're playing some young kids," Naperville Central coach Mike Stock said. "You can see their energy and you can even hear it. But it took a lot of work for them to get here, and we've got more work to do."
Central third baseman and leadoff man Pambo Nicoloudes was all smiles after completing the impressive sweep over the past four days. He singled and scored in the first inning and then was hit by a pitch and scored in a 3-run second as the Redhawks gave Diiulio an early 4-0 lead.
"It's just a great feeling. This was a huge week for us and it's a big boost to our confidence," said Nicoloudes, who reached base five times and capped off his day with an RBI double in the sixth. "The bats are really contributing and that helps our pitchers a lot."
There was no argument from Diiulio, who improved to 2-0 in the DVC and only allowed a second-inning run on Thursday following a balk after he slipped during his delivery.
"As a pitcher it really helps to get runs on the board early, and against a team like Naperville North it helps to jump ahead," the junior right-hander said. "We have a lot of positive energy and that's what I love about this team. Three in a row is huge. We're trying to get this conference title and we're chasing some big things for the seniors."
The Redhawks caused damage throughout the lineup, finishing with 10 hits and reached safely a dozen more times via walks and hit batsmen. Left fielder Mike Boyce had three hits and a pair of RBI from the No. 9 spot in the order.
Huskies coach Jimmy Chiappetta could only tip his hat after Central played a stellar all-around game while dropping his squad to 7-7 overall and 4-5 in the DVC.
"Credit them. They're tough outs at the plate and they battled our pitchers," he said. "Our guys actually pitched pretty well all week, but they just hit. For us, this last week, we just missed getting a big hit or two in key situations. Coach Stock always gets his guys ready and their bats were really flying."
For the Huskies, leadoff man Tanner Mally reached base three times and Zach Komar doubled and scored North's lone run in the second.