Baseball: Wauconda drops Antioch to stay in NLCC race

  • Antioch baserunner Austin Stewart is tagged out by Wauconda's Marcus Sperling when he is caught trying to score on an overthrow in the second inning in a baseball game in Antioch on Friday.

    Antioch baserunner Austin Stewart is tagged out by Wauconda's Marcus Sperling when he is caught trying to score on an overthrow in the second inning in a baseball game in Antioch on Friday. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Antioch third baseman Blake Wilson is lifted off his feet as Wauconda baserunner Camden Janik collides with him in a baseball game in Antioch on Friday. Janik was caught off second base and tried to reach third in a rundown between bases in the second inning.

    Antioch third baseman Blake Wilson is lifted off his feet as Wauconda baserunner Camden Janik collides with him in a baseball game in Antioch on Friday. Janik was caught off second base and tried to reach third in a rundown between bases in the second inning. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Antioch's AJ Kutcher advances to third on a grounder by Ethan Holmes that is fielded by Wauconda's Zach Johnson in a baseball game in Antioch on Friday, May 21, 2021.

    Antioch's AJ Kutcher advances to third on a grounder by Ethan Holmes that is fielded by Wauconda's Zach Johnson in a baseball game in Antioch on Friday, May 21, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
By Rusty Silber
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 5/21/2021 9:54 PM

Wauconda has been in the Northern Lake County Conference baseball title chase with Grayslake Central all spring long. The Bulldogs seem to be finding ways to grind out victories and continue to be the runner-up with a few games remaining.

Bulldogs junior Colin Husko, who went 3-for-4 along with a hit by pitch and reached base in all five trips to the plate, was a big part of Wauconda's 9-6 win over Antioch on Friday afternoon.

 

Wauconda (10-10, 10-5) took two out of thee games over Antioch (10-13, 6-9) this week.

"I've been playing this game for as long as I can remember," said Husko, who also played football and wresting. "I want to pursue it for the rest of my life and possibly go to college for it."

Husko is one of many who have been helping the Bulldogs find ways to win games.

"It's probably our team chemistry," Husko said. "We're always up and always up in the dugout. We find ways to win when we're down. There's always that one guy that can bring ourselves up back into the game."

For the Bulldogs, building off close wins is important as the postseason approaches.

"Every one seems like a grind-out win," Wauconda coach Clay Kovac said. "We're getting stronger as a team moving towards the playoffs by having close games like this. In the playoffs, you might win by one or two runs. There's pressure situations all the time. You've got to make sure that we're doing the little things. Hitting the ball, throwing the ball, moving the runners over. Just practicing that and executing it during the game."

On Friday, freshman Zach Johnson hit a solo home run that broke a 4-4 tie in the top of the third inning and gave the Bulldogs a 5-4 lead.

Wauconda added 4 unearned runs in the fifth and increased the margin to 9-4.

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Antioch managed to get back a couple of runs in the bottom of the sixth.

Jack Proeschel pitched 4⅓ innings in relief for Wauconda for his second win of the season.

"Our pitching has stepped up a lot," Kovac said. "Proeschel did a great job. He came in, he hadn't pitched in a while, and shut the door."

Antioch honored its 12 seniors on Friday.

"We have guys that have been through a lot the last couple of years with baseball and everything," Antioch coach Chris Malec said. "We have guys that don't give up."

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