WOODSTOCK – Cary-Grove senior Dean Christakes embraces the leadoff role because he can see a lot of pitches, which in turn can help his teammates get a look at the opponent’s starter.
Christakes ditched that plan to lead off Tuesday’s game. Trojans coach Don Sutherland urged his players to attack fastballs and Christakes was happy to oblige.
The C-G shortstop singled on the first pitch from Woodstock’s Austin Butts, stole second and scored two batters later, starting a four-run first inning. The Trojans made those runs stand up for a 4-3 victory in a Fox Valley Conference crossover baseball game at Emricson Park.
“Yesterday, we were taking a lot of pitches and Suds wanted us to hunt the fastball early in the count,” Christakes said. “The whole team did that pretty well today. We came off hot and luckily enough our lead held up.”
Christakes reached base three of the four times he batted, and although he did not score again, he helped C-G (6-4 overall, 2-0 FVC Valley Division) set the early tone. The Trojans stole three bases in the first inning, while Christakes stole two more later.
“Dean has a great approach at the plate and is not afraid of a curveball, and will attack a fastball early in the count,” Sutherland said. “He has great speed, a lot of people have great speed, and he has great baserunning instincts. He worries pitchers, he worries catchers at the top of the order.”
Matt Sutherland’s hard ground ball got past shortstop Alex Ferguson in the first inning to score Christakes. Sutherland scored on Andrew Splitt’s double, then Jimmy Perkins singled in a pair of runs for a 4-0 lead.
Splitt (2-0) and Larkin Hanselmann made those four runs stand, although Woodstock (2-3, 0-3 FVC Fox) made it interesting in the sixth inning.
“It’s always nice when the team puts some hits together and scores four runs in the first inning,” said Splitt, who threw five innings for the pitching win. “It’s better to have the bases loaded and not score than go three up, three down. It’s a plus when we get guys on base, we just have to come through [with more hits].”
Woodstock’s Jordan Sumner doubled and scored in the first, then tripled and scored in the fifth. Butts left after tweaking his shoulder in the fifth and sophomore left-hander Justyn Eisenmenger kept the Trojans scoreless the rest of the game.
The Blue Streaks’ Zach Kammin doubled to lead off the sixth and scored on Ben Haulotte’s single, when Don Sutherland called for Hanselmann. The junior left-hander kept the margin at 4-3, then worked a perfect seventh.
“We’ve been falling behind in every game, so that was outstanding jumping on those guys for four runs in the first inning,” Sutherland said. “We got guys on several innings, so that piece of the game was not so good.”
Woodstock coach John Oliveira said Butts will see the trainer on Wednesday, but did not think his injury was serious.
“We gave ourselves opportunities after opportunities,” Oliveira said. “I counted six left on base in scoring position. We made it a game, the offense was just one hit away. I couldn’t be more proud of that.”