Prep Baseball Insider: ACC's 'unbelievable' home streak ends
St. Francis extended Aurora Central Catholic's home losing streak to two with Thursday's 8-3 victory.
One day earlier, IC Catholic Prep ended the Chargers' 18-game home winning streak by taking a tight, 4-2 game.
The Knights and Spartans became the first group of visitors to win at ACC since Oswego on March 20, 2013.
"Unbelievable," St. Francis coach Rich Janor said. "Man, that's wild. Real wild."
Will Purdom paced the Spartans' attack with two hits and three RBIs, helping St. Francis recover from a frustrating April 15. Michigan State-bound Marmion lefty Alex Troop stifled the host Spartans in a one-hit shutout.
"It was a good bounce-back game," Janor said. "We started a little slow and kind of put the gas pedal down late in the game. It was nice to see the bats get going."
Derr keeps stinging 'em
Geneva sophomore shortstop Nick Derr generates buzz whenever he steps into the batter's box by virtue of his commitment to Florida State.
It always occurs to him, however, that he's capable of creating more chatter.
Derr continued a torrid start that has matched the Vikings' – 9-2 entering Tuesday – by going 2 for 3 with a home run in Monday's Upstate Eight Conference crossover win against visiting Bartlett.
He smacked three homers in a nonconference home win against Conant on April 13.
"I worked very hard in the offseason to get bigger and stronger and I think by far it's paid off," Derr said. "It's just a lot of hard work in the offseason. I'm glad to see it's paying off."
Troop changes it up
Troop adjusted to the wind conditions at St. Francis and used his changeup to do most of his damage against the Spartans.
"He has high confidence in all of his pitches," Cadets coach Dave Rakow said. "It kind of varies game to game, just whatever's working for him."
Most times, Troop, a Batavia resident, gets a sense during pregame warmups in the bullpen. Other times, it might take an inning or two to find the pulse.
"Seven-inning shutout, you really can't ask for much more than that," Rakow said. "He really did a great job."
Saints ready for road tests
St. Charles East will play on the road in two out of three games in its next two conference series. The Saints face Batavia this week and Geneva next week, with the Vikings hosting a May 3 doubleheader.
The schedule puts an added premium on winning at home.
"It's definitely a pitcher's park," Saints senior righty Mike Boehmer said.
– Kevin Druley, firstname.lastname@example.org
IN THE GROOVE
Burlington Central, Sr., P
What he did: Schutta threw a perfect game against visiting Harvard on Monday, striking out 13 in a 9-0 victory. He threw 56 of his 83 pitches for strikes.
Batavia, Sr., P
What he did: Green struck out six and walked three in a no-hitter Friday, defeating South Elgin, 6-0.
WHAT WE LEARNED LAST WEEK
Kaneland keeps rolling. The Knights reeled off their eighth straight win – and fourth straight in Northern Illinois Big 12 East play – on Monday. Timely offense again backed strong pitching, as Anthony Holubecki scattered two runs and three hits in five innings before Nick Stahl's two innings of scoreless relief.
WHAT WE'LL LEARN IN THE WEEK AHEAD
A mouthful about the Upstate Eight Conference River Division race. A pair of all- Tri-Cities series opened Tuesday, with 2013 co-league champs St. Charles East and Batavia squaring off along with perennial contenders St. Charles North and Geneva.
COACH SLY SEZ ...
That adage about pitchers holding the edge on hitters in the early season has been around for some time, but man is it echoing pretty loudly these days.
Perfect games, no-hitters, one-hitters. Just about anywhere you go in Chronicle Country, you've got the chance of seeing something special on the hill.
We'll see how hitters respond. This trend has to turn the other way sometime, right?