Baseball: Grayslake North continues rolling heading into postseason
It would be easy for Grayslake Central to head into coast mode.
The Rams have already wrapped up the Northern Lake County Conference title. They also received a second seed in the Class 3A playoffs.
But it is momentum that Grayslake Central is looking for in this final full week of the regular season.
The Rams already have a good start on that after beating Wauconda for the second day in a row Tuesday.
Grayslake Central (25-5, 17-0) banged out 12 hits to beat the Bulldogs 11-8. That came on the heels of a Rams win Monday as they downed Wauconda 9-1.
"You still want to try to get better each and every day," Grayslake Central coach Troy Whalen said. "We need to stay healthy."
The Rams play Dundee-Crown on Wednesday, Wauconda on Thursday, Grayslake North Friday, Lake Zurich Saturday and Libertyville next Monday. They then begin state playoff action, facing Vernon Hills.
Grayslake Central played without leadoff hitter Jack Gerbasi, who is hitting .450 with 50 runs. But the offense still found a way to get the runs they needed.
The Rams jumped to a 4-1 lead thanks to Nolan Mussay's first home run of his career. Message. who is a golfer in the fall, was able to loft the ball into the wind and it carried from there.
"I have hit a lot of hard balls, I just haven't got under one," Mussay said. "It was inside fastball and I lifted it. It just floated out of here with the wind."
Wauconda (11-14-1, 10-7) rallied to tie the game in the fifth. The Bulldogs scored runs on a couple of hits by Colin Christensen, who would have three hits in the day, and an RBI single by Zac Johnson.
But the Rams didn't let up.
They took the lead on a sacrifice fly by Jordan Dumas. Riley Policht, who had been hit by a pitch earlier, scored on a sweet slide at the plate to avoid the tag.
Policht then came up huge in the next inning.
He doubled just over the third base bag, scoring Luke Mudd and Quinn Klees, who was running for Cam Marson, who had singled.
"I thought is was foul, but coach said it curved over," Policht said. "I knew I had to be aggressive early. With my bat and my skills and with guys in scoring position, I knew I had to go up there and attack the first good pitch I saw."
Policht then scored on Adam Fizgerald's single. Garrett Guenther, who was celebrating his birthday, did it with style with a long triple and would score on Dumas' groundout as the Rams erupted for six runs and an 11-4 lead.
"Hopefully I get a Tastee Freeze after," said Guenther, who had two hits and two RBI. "Two huge wins over Wauconda is very good. We need to keep things going."
Whalen liked the way his team was able to get those key hits.
"We swing in spurts," Whalen said. "We did some better situational hitting. Riley's hit was fair. He has been our best hitter all year. And that double down the left field line was huge."
Wauconda made it interesting in the last inning. The Bulldogs scored four runs thanks to a single by Brock Pfeiffer and a triple by Connor Vanslow. But that's as close as they would get.
"The kids kept competing," said Wauconda coach Shawn Rudolph, who also is looking for some momentum for his 10th-seeded Bulldogs.
"That's what we took from it. We kept battling each time they would go up. That's a good answer, so that is good."