JOHNSBURG – Johnsburg catcher BJ Garcia came to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning with men on first and second in a 4-4 tie with one goal in mind: advance both base runners.
Garcia executed his plan to perfection, placing a sacrifice bunt down the first-base line – but instead of moving up the runners, Garcia’s bunt proved to be the game winner.
Crystal Lake Central catcher Kyle Lavand picked up the ball and threw wildly to first base, allowing Erich Zawacki to score the go-ahead run all the way from second in the Skyhawks’ 6-4 Fox Valley Conference Fox Division victory Friday at Tigers Field.
“I didn’t want to end the inning on a double play,” said Garcia, who drew a pair of walks in his first two at-bats. “I have more faith in Collin [Ridout] coming up, so I wanted to get the runners over to second and third and keep the inning going.”
“It worked out where [Lavand] kind of threw it down the line, and we got both runs in anyway.”
Ridout, the next batter, provided Johnsburg (16-11 overall, 10-6 FVC Fox) with its sixth run on a sacrifice fly, and Kevin Kordik came in for the save and closed out the Tigers to give the Skyhawks their ninth win in 10 games.
“What a selfless act, and what a team player BJ Garcia is,” said Johnsburg coach Sam Lesniak. “The bunt was entirely on his own, and it’s because he understands where we are in the order and who’s coming up.
“All he wants to do is contribute to the team’s success. You can’t have enough of those guys on your team.”
Down 4-2, the Skyhawks scored four times in the sixth inning on four singles, two errors and a walk, with RBI singles from Jake Schyvinck, who went 2 for 3 with two RBIs, and Alec Graef (3 for 4, RBI), who scored Johnsburg’s final run on Ridout’s sac fly.
Central (5-20, 3-13 FVC Fox) had led the entire game up until the sixth, before being retired in order over the final two innings.
“That’s the story of our season,” Central coach Dan Badgley said. “We need to make a pitch, we don’t make a pitch. We need to make a play, we don’t make a play.”
The Tigers led off the game with three straight singles, followed by RBI sac flies from Riley Popell and Blake Gleason. Matt Tegtmeier had an RBI single in the third and Popell added one of his own in the fifth. Central collected eight hits, all singles.
Schyvinck (5-1) threw six innings in the win for Johnsburg, allowing four earned runs and striking out three.
“I think we’re really starting to get hot at the end of the season,” said Schyvinck. “We know we can come back and get the job done.”
“I think we can run the table.”
Fred Birr (3-3) started and got a no decision for the Tigers, allowing three earned runs and striking out one in five-plus innings.
Kordik had the game’s only extra-base hit, a two-out triple in the fifth. Scott Sompel, Dan Tylkowski and Patrick Kuczwara each scored for the Skyhawks.