JOHNSBURG – Dundee-Crown second baseman Zach Girard was conflicted as he watched the zeroes piling up in the scorebook for the Chargers and Johnsburg.
“I was nervous the whole time,” Girard said. “It was exciting, but I loved it. I loved it, but I hated it at the same time.”
D-C stranded Johnsburg’s winning run at third base in the eighth and ninth innings, then Girard knocked in the game’s first run in the top of the 10th and the Chargers grabbed a 3-1 10-inning victory in their Fox Valley Conference crossover baseball game Thursday at Tiger Field.
“Our boys just persevered and played solid defense behind their pitcher,” D-C coach Jon Anderson said. “I’m just real proud of the way they kept going and going and going. It could have gone either way, I’m just glad we came out on top.”
D-C left-hander Nick Lodi and Skyhawks right-hander Collin Ridout allowed a combined five hits in the first seven innings. Lodi pitched through two more outs in the eight, while Ridout went 91/3, striking out seven and throwing 131 pitches.
D-C’s Kyle DeAtley reached on an error in the 10th, advanced to second on a wild pitch and was sacrifice bunted to third. With two outs, Girard singled to left field, then Garrett Ryan and Ryan Suwanski followed with RBI hits.
“I didn’t have any hits,” Girard said. “I knew I had to do something to help my team out. It definitely started something. Once we scored one run, we knew we had that game and we kept piling them on.”
D-C moved to 2-2 overall and 1-0 in the FVC Valley Division. The FVC counts crossover games toward the respective division titles.
Johnsburg (2-4, 0-1 FVC Fox) thought it had the game won twice in the eighth. Alec Brown singled and with two outs Joe Kass ripped a double down the right-field line. Brown would have scored easily, but the ball rolled out of bounds for a ground-rule double. Brandon Krennrich was intentionally walked to bring up Cam Adams.
Chargers third baseman Trent Muscat dived to the shortstop side to snag Adams’ hard shot, got up and nipped him when first baseman Nick Munson scooped a short-hop throw.
“I had said to the infielders earlier, ‘On your belly, save a run,’ ” Muscat said. “That’s something I’ve been taught my whole high school career. I saw it coming my way and dove for it, saw it was in my glove and got up and made the throw.”
The Skyhawks again loaded the bases in the ninth, but shortstop Garrett Ryan, who bobbled a ball earlier in the inning, made the play on Ridout’s grounder to end that threat.
“We couldn’t catch a break,” Ridout said. “We thought we won the game, we think [Brown] is scoring and the umpire calls ‘dead ball.’ We have several opportunities where we could have closed it.”
Ridout (1-1) took the loss but had the admiration of his teammates and coaches.
“The last three innings we were going to take [Ridout] out if the next guy got on,” Johnsburg coach Sam Lesniak said. “What a gutsy performance by Collin. What a courageous effort. He didn’t let me take him out of the game.”
After DeAtley reached first, Lesniak brought in Dan Kosel.
“I’m competitive, I didn’t want to lose,” Ridout said. “Everything I do out there is for these guys. I could care less how I do, I do it for them.”
Johnsburg threatened in the 10th, scoring its lone run on Kevin Kordik’s single. With runners on first and second, Suwanski, D-C’s third pitcher, sealed down the save for reliever Tyler Lewan (1-1).