Baseball: Hinsdale Central falls to Neuqua Valley 7-0
Updated: July 21, 2012 4:06PM
The postseason that they had waited 35 games for now finally at hand, Neuqua Valley just went out and did what it has been doing for the last month.
With precision, Neuqua Valley senior right-hander Nick Blackburn fired a one-hit complete game as third-seeded Neuqua Valley earned a 7-0 shutout victory over 15th-seeded Hinsdale Central Wednesday in a Class 4A Bolingbrook Regional semifinal.
“My slider was really good (Wednesday). (The slider) really seemed to be fooling their hitters,” said Blackburn, who touched as high as 92 mph on the radar gun with his fastball. “I was using that as my out pitch.”
Blackburn (7-3) struck out eight and walked two in recording Neuqua Valley’s 13th shutout on the season.
The lone hit the Red Devils recorded off Blackburn occurred with one out in the top of the third as Jared Eck tapped a ball right in front of home plate and eventually reached as both Blackburn and junior catcher Dylan Goss had trouble with it.
In addition to receiving solid work from the Illinois-bound Blackburn, who retired 10 consecutive batters at one point, the Wildcats extended their winning streak to 14 games behind an opportunistic offense.
The Wildcats got their leadoff man aboard in three separate innings on walks and senior center fielder Jack Amaro led off the bottom of the sixth with a solo home run to left.
Already having grabbed a run in the bottom of the second, which started with a leadoff walk to Goss, on a throwing error from Hinsdale Central starter Adam Dressler, the Wildcats struck again an inning later.
After Matt Wollnik drew a leadoff walk from Dressler to begin the third, Wildcats senior shortstop Tanner Giesel brought him home with a two-out, two-run home run to left-center off Dressler to give Blackburn a 3-0 cushion.
“Just getting baserunners on base. That’s our motto. We gotta get baserunners on and get them over and score them,” said Giesel, who went 2-for-3 with three RBI while also scoring two runs. “If that’s hitting it to the right side when there’s a guy on third, then you gotta do what you gotta do to help your team.”
Dressler took the loss for the Red Devils after giving up five runs on just two hits in 4 1/3 innings, but he walked five to go with six strikeouts.
Mindful of how dangerous Neuqua Valley is from getting beat 11-0 by Neuqua Valley at home back in March, Hinsdale Central (13-22) was held to the fire for the second time this year by Blackburn, who threw a five-inning complete game at the Red Devils on March 21.
“He does a good job. (He throws) first-pitch strikes, gets ahead, throws that breaking ball real well and mixes real well, too,” Hinsdale Central coach Justin Cronin said of Blackburn, who lowered his ERA to 1.68. “Didn’t really notice him getting into set routines, set types of patterns. He’s good. He does a good job. That’s a credit to him.”
Neuqua Valley (29-7) advances to Saturday’s final against either sixth-seeded Naperville North or No. 11 Bolingbrook, with the program’s fourth 30-win season and seventh regional title at stake.
“Well, no, they don’t (come along very often),” Neuqua Valley coach Robin Renner said of a 30-win season. “But we’re more concerned with just one win instead of the 30. We’ll just take that one on Saturday and go from there.”