High school baseball: Johnsburg piles up hits in victory over Harvard

Blake Lemcke
Blake Lemcke

HARVARD – Johnsburg designated hitter Chris Krennrich was in some kind of zone Wednesday. The senior doubled in his first at-bat, tripled in his third at-bat and had scored three runs by the fourth inning.

“I just went up each time trying to make solid contact and hit the ball hard and help my team out any way I could,” Krennrich said.

Krennrich gave the Skyhawks the early lead in a game they would never trail as they took the second game in a series against Harvard, 13-5, in Kishwaukee River Conference play at Harvard High School. Wednesday’s game was scheduled to be played in Johnsburg but was moved to Harvard because of field conditions at Tiger Field after Wednesday’s rain.

After winning Monday’s opener, 22-0, Johnsburg (6-9, 4-1 KRC) jumped out to a quick start again. The Skyhawks sent seven to the plate in the first inning and scored twice.

Unlike Monday’s game, Harvard had an answer. The Hornets’ Ryan Stephens and Austin Gratz scored to tie the score, 2-2, after one inning. Harvard left the bases loaded in the first, which would become an early theme for the home team.

“We left too many on base, and that really cost us,” Harvard coach Donnie Nolen said. “They hit some gappers and took advantage of some mistakes we made. I was happy with the effort we gave today, and we played much better than we did on Monday. Having a practice yesterday really helped, and I feel like we came ready to play. We just came up short.”

Johnsburg took the lead for good in the fourth inning. Adam Jayko had an RBI double, and Noah Alanis drove home Jayko with a single. The big hit of the inning was by Blake Lemcke, who entered the game after starter Brody Frazier left in the second inning with an injury. Lemcke took a fastball to center field to drive in two runs. 

“Blake Lemcke was huge for us off the bench today,” Johnsburg coach Sam Lesniak said. “He hit the ball hard each time he was up when it was tough coming in cold off the bench.”

Lemcke finished with four RBIs, while Krennrich and Jayko led Johnsburg with three hits each. Aidan Stark picked up the victory for the Skyhawks in relief. Stark allowed two runs in his three innings and finished with four strikeouts.

Harvard (4-9, 0-8) was led by Stephens, who scored twice and added a single. Josh Whaples had two walks and a single.

Thursday’s series finale, which originally was scheduled to be played in Harvard, will be played at Tiger Field at 4:30 p.m..

Unsung Hero

Blake Lemcke

Johnsburg, sr., RF

Lemcke entered the game after Brody Frazier left with an injury and drove in four runs in his four at-bats to help lead the Johnsburg offense.

The Number

35: Runs for Johnsburg in the first two games of its series against Harvard.

And Another Thing... 

“Better him than me,” Johnsburg first basemen Eli Alanis told the crowd sitting behind home plate while walking up for his at-bat after twin brother Noah Alanis took a fastball in the back Wednesday.


Johnsburg 20 4 2 1 3 1—13 14 2

Harvard 2 0 12 0 0 0—5   5  1

WP—Stark (3IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, 1BB, 4K). LP—Garza (4IP, 8H, 8R, 7ER, 5BB, 4K).

Top Hitters: Johnsburg—Krennrich 3-4 (3B, 2B, 3R, BB, 2RBI, SB), Jayko 3-5 (3R, 2B, BB, RBI, SB), Lemcke 2-4 (2B, 4RBI), Kordik 2-4 (2RBI. R), N.Alanis 2-4 (3B, 2RBI, HBP), E.Alanis 0-1 (4BB, 2SB, R). Harvard—Stephens 1-4 (2R), Gratz 1-3 (BB,R), Whaples 1-2 (R, 2BB), Lehman 1-4 (RBI), Peterson 0-2 (2BB, RBI).

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