Baseball: Libertyville clinches share of NSC crown

There was a lot of power hitting going on when Stevenson hosted Libertyville in a key North Suburban Conference baseball game Monday afternoon in Lincolnshire.

With the wind blowing out from time to time, the two teams combined for 13 extra base hits as the visiting Wildcats powered their way to a 10-6 NSC victory to claim at least a share of the NSC championship.

Libertyville (24-7, 12-1) can clinch the NSC crown outright with a victory over visiting Stevenson (23-8, 9-4) Tuesday afternoon. If the Wildcats lose, they could have to share the title with Mundelein which will be playing Zion-Benton.

Libertyville's Brenden Max doubled off Stevenson freshman Brady Rozencranz before scoring on an error for an early 1-0 lead.

The Patriots responded in the bottom of the first when Owen Housinger doubled off winning pitcher Jonathan Ciullo to drive in teammate Joe Richardson for a 1-1 tie.

The Wildcats scored 3 runs on 4 hits in the top of the second as Michael Kelly and Dylan Holmes both had doubles during the offensive rally to take a 4-1 lead.

A solo homer to left field by Luca Morelli cut the lead to 4-2 in the second before Housinger doubled home J.R. Nelson to cut the gap to 4-3 in the third inning.

Libertyville built a 9-3 lead with 5 runs on 4 hits in the top of the fifth highlighted by 2-run homers by Ryan Thrawl and Cole Collins, who hit his home run against Stevenson reliever Brett Gaynor.

"Our guys had a good approach at the plate. I don't think they were trying to hit home runs today but they were just trying to put the barrel to the ball and good things happened so it was good to see them connect," said Libertyville coach Matt Thompson. "Our pitchers would tell you they didn't have their best stuff today. But it's been a fun year, they're a good group, and a lot of guys are contributing."

The Patriots got a run back in the bottom of the fifth as No. 9 hitter Jordan Skolmar led off the inning with a solo homer to left-center.

Collins doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Kelly to boost the lead to 10-4 heading into the bottom of the seventh.

Nelson doubled and scored on a 2-run homer to left field by Housinger to account for the final score.

"It's good to see the batters in this conference are willing to put in the time and wait for some good pitches," said Stevenson coach Nick Skala, whose team was outhit 12-9 overall. "We kept battling back. We left some guys on base which are momentum killers. Little things are going to go a long way in playoff baseball."

Jack Glasgow pitched the final two innings on the mound for the Wildcats.

"I like where we're at, and we're really trying to work on having more productive at-bats," added Skala. "We're going to hopefully limit their pop tomorrow at their place and we look forward to the challenge moving forward. They are a great ballclub."

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