As the weather is seemingly starting to turn around, so is Naperville Central’s stride.
Starting to show why media outlets had them pegged as a top 10 team in the state in the preseason, seventh-ranked Naperville Central turned in its third straight solid, all-around effort in rolling to a 10-3 victory over Glenbard North on Monday in Naperville, completing a three-game sweep of the Panthers.
Knocking around Panthers’ starter Matt Albin (1-2) to the tune of seven runs on six hits in just three innings, the Redhawks scored in five of their six innings at the plate, including three-run innings in both the first and second innings.
“(We) had to capitalize on all their mistakes, just taking advantage of everything,” senior Jeff Lucas said. “Everyone’s been hitting the ball well recently and just doing everything we can to put the runs up on the board.”
Six different players accounted for the 10 hits Naperville Central (14-4, 9-2 DuPage Valley) recorded as a team, with Lucas and Jeff Schank each collecting three hits apiece.
Five different Redhawks knocked in at least one run, with Nick Thomas’ pinch-hit, two-run single in the fifth leading the way.
“All the way through the lineup, everyone’s hitting. Everyone can hit. You can trust everybody,” Lucas said. “It’s good to put those runs up early to help Zach (Aranoff), help him put them away easy and just make the game go smoothly.”
In knocking Glenbard North (12-8, 8-3 DuPage Valley) from the ranks of the unbeaten within the DuPage Valley Conference, the Redhawks vaulted themselves from two games out of first place into a two-tie atop the DVC in the loss column with Wheaton North after battering
Panthers’ pitching for a combined 28 runs on 32 hits in three games.
With Schank and Jim Nashert perched atop the Redhawks’ rotation, senior righty Zach Aranoff continues to impress as the No. 3 in the rotation.
Following up three innings in relief against West Aurora last Thursday and a perfect inning in relief in the Redhawks’ 8-1 win over Glenbard
North on Saturday, Aranoff did a yeoman’s job over his 4 1/3 innings of work.
Limiting the Panthers to just two hits, Aranoff (3-1) was charged with three runs in large part due to issuing four walks, but he made the most of the massive run support his offense gave him as Naperville Central raced out to an 8-0 lead after four innings.
“I was just trying, like you always (do), hit batters’ (bats). Hit the strike zone, hit the strike zone, hit the strike zone and try and work. Work the count,” he said. “I wasn’t (as sharp as I can be). I walked too many guys (Monday). … They didn’t get too many hits, but I gave up a couple bases and a couple at-bats I’d like to have back. But, overall, the defense was real solid with Jeff Lucas (at second) and Matt McBain (at third).”
Brandon Kressner, Brett Consitt and Ryan Storto each knocked in runs during a three-run fifth for Glenbard North, which was outscored by Naperville Central 28-4 during the three-game sweep.
“It’s a big win. Each one of them are huge and to put the package together of all three is a real good weekend plus Monday,” Naperville Central coach Mike Stock said.