Svoboda, defense lead McHenry past Jacobs

McHENRY – McHenry pitcher Nick Svoboda’s game plan was pretty straightforward.

“I was just trying to throw strikes, keep the ball low and trust my defense behind me,” the Warriors’ senior right-hander said.

That worked well for most of the night. Svoboda got a little more help defensively than his Jacobs’ counterpart, Evan Blunk, as McHenry defeated the Golden Eagles, 6-3, in their Fox Valley Conference Valley Division baseball game Thursday at Petersen Park.

Svoboda (2-2) went 62/3 innings, allowing 10 hits, issuing one walk and striking out four. McHenry scored twice in the fifth and three times in the sixth with the help of two catchable fly balls. The first, from Cody Freund, fell for a two-RBI double behind Jacobs center fielder Nick Ledinsky, who appeared to lose the ball for a second in the dark sky.

The second came after a long run by Eagles left fielder Connor Conzelman, who could not hold on to Robert Nagel’s short fly in the sixth. McHenry took a 6-1 lead into the seventh for Svoboda.

“I told them get me a couple and I’ll finish the job,” Svoboda said. “That always makes a pitcher feel better with a couple more runs.”

Jacobs scored twice in the seventh before Andrew Reisinger came in to nail down the final out for the Warriors (13-6 overall, 7-2 FVC Valley).

“[Svoboda] pitched well,” McHenry coach Brian Rockweiler said. “He’s not going to overpower anybody. When he throws strikes and keeps the ball down, he’s pretty effective.”

Devon Gehrke led off with a double on Blunk’s first pitch and scored. Only one more Warriors’ run was earned.

“We wanted to sit back on the curveball and look for a fastball to drive,” Gehrke said. “We kept competing. When they got their run [in the fifth], we didn’t let it get us down. We just stayed there and battled.”

Jacobs (13-4, 5-2) was missing regular center fielder Aaron Traub, who is slowed by a leg injury, and Ryan Sargent, who was sick and missed school Thursday. Ledinsky, who regularly pitches, filled in for Traub.

Jacobs coach Jamie Murray called Blunk (1-2) a hard-luck pitcher this season.

“We don’t score any runs for him,” Murray said. “Evan pitched an outstanding game. We didn’t play defense well, but we have some guys in different positions. We played a night game last week at Trout Park because we knew we had a conference night game here. Moving forward we’ll be fine. I worry about mental errors. What we did wrong tonight are things we can fix.”

Blunk struck out six, walked two and allowed seven hits.

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