CRYSTAL LAKE – Johnsburg right-hander Aidan Stark embraced the challenge put forth when he was given the ball against Crystal Lake South.
After taking an 11-1 pounding from Grayslake North on Tuesday, the Skyhawks wanted to bounce back in the proper way against another large school. Stark did his best to make sure that happened.
“I knew they were a tough opponent and they were going to be very aggressive at the plate,” he said. “I was determined to go up there and get the job done. We knew they were really tough competition and we really wanted to beat them.”
Stark threw 4 1/3 scoreless innings and drove in the Skyhawks’ first run as they defeated South, 6-0, in their nonconference baseball game Wednesday at The Swawp.
“The kid is an absolute competitor,” Johnsburg coach Sam Lesniak said. “He’s not afraid of any lineup. We went out there and pitched an awesome game, and did well with the bat for us as well.”
Adam Jayko singled with two outs in the first the the Skyhawks (6-4). Noah Alanis walked and Stark singled in Jayko. Alanis added RBI singles in the third and fifth innings for Johnsburg.
“Noah did a great job today, he executed his pitches well,” said Alanis, the Skyhawks catcher. “He was able to throw strikes when he needed to and kept his curveball low.”
Stark got himself into trouble in the third inning when Steven Siavelis singled and Kyle Hetherington and Noah Tyrrell drew walks. On a full count, Stark got Blake Kuffel swinging to escape any damage.
The Skyhawks took advantage of three South errors to score four unearned runs in the fifth inning. That provided plenty for Stark and relievers Trevor Wotring and Jayko.
“Yesterday we lost to Grayslake North, we made a complete 180 today,” Alanis said. “A complete turnaround, a confidence builder. Coach gave us a nice pep talk on the bus, which fired us up and we did a great job.”
South (3-4-1) managed only four hits, with two coming from Steven Siavelis.
“I don’t know how many pop-ups we had, but it was a lot,” Gators coach Brian Bogda said. “I felt like we didn’t square up many pitches. I don’t know, (Stark) got ahead a lot and we didn’t have a good approach.”
STAR OF THE GAME
Johnsburg, sr., C
Alanis was 2 for 3 with two RBIs for the Skyhawks. He drove in a run in the third inning, then knocked in another for their first run in the four-run fifth. Skyhawks coach Sam Lesniak also lauded his work behind the plate.
South runners stranded on base in the first four innings by Skyhawks starter Aidan Stark.
AND ANOTHER THING
South second basemen Scott Skwarek suffered a right hand injury in the third inning and had to leave the game. Skwarek dropped a single behind first base and, when he rounded big, Stark cut to the bag and received a throw. The players collided as they slid for the base and Skwarek, who was out, sustained an injury. Gators coach Brian Bogda was unsure of the severity.
Johnsburg 6, Crystal Lake South 0
Johnsburg 101 040 0 – 6 10 2
CL South 000 000 0 – 0 4 3
WP: Aidan Stark (4.1IP, 4H, 0R, 0ER, 3BB, 2K). LP: Kyle Hetherington (2.1IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 1BB, 2K).
Top hitters–Johnsburg: Adam Jayko 2-4 (2R), Noah Alanis 2-3 (2RBIs), Aidan Stark 2-2 (RBI). CL South: Steven Siaveles 2-4, Hetherington 1-2 (2B, 2BBs), Scott Skwarek 1-2.