Touching All the Bases: A “been there, done that” feeling served as inspiration for Jack Troike in Lincoln-Way North’s 6-3 baseball victory over Andrew on Wednesday afternoon in Frankfort. Troike, a senior third baseman in his third season playing varsity ball with the Phoenix, delivered a run-scoring single to snap a 3-3 deadlock in the bottom of the fifth inning as the two teams battled back and forth to gain the upper hand in the Southwest Suburban Red Conference race. Andrew had gone ahead moments earlier on an RBI double by Steve Carrabotta and a run-scoring single by Pat Elget. Troike’s hit was one of the highlights in a four-run fifth for the Phoenix. Junior right-hander Mike Miller (7-0) retired seven of the last nine hitters he faced to gain the pitching victory. He allowed three runs on six hits and struck out nine.
Patch’s MVP: Jack Troike, senior, third baseman, Lincoln-Way North. Troike went 1-for-3. His one-out single in the fifth scored Alex Neufeld and put the Phoenix ahead 4-3. Troike also reached on a fielder’s choice, scored two runs and stole a base. And he turned a hot smash off the bat of Andrew’s Ryan Forrest into a routine 5-3 putout in the top of the third.
Andrew Leaders: Steve Carrabotta (1-for-4, double, 1 run, 1 RBI), Brian Grad (1-for-3, double, 2 runs), Dan Durkin (1-for-3, double, 1 RBI), Pat Elget (1-for-4, 1 RBI).
Lincoln-Way North Leaders: Corey Krupske (2-for-3, 1 run), Alex Neufeld (1-for-4, 1 run), Ryan Pellack (1-for-3), Dominic Hartman (1-for-2, triple, 2 RBIs), Jack Troike (1-for-3, 2 runs, 1 RBI), Drew Korosic (1-for-2, double, 1 run, 1 RBI), Josh Handzik (1-for-2, double).
Quotable I: “Well, we’ve definitely been there before, especially over the summer,” Lincoln-Way North’s Jack Troike said of the feeling the Phoenix dugout after Andrew went ahead 3-2 in the top of the fifth. “We had a lot of comeback wins (en route to capturing the IHSBCA state championship). I don’t want to say that’s it is a comfortable feeling. But we don’t panic on this team, which is always good, especially in big games like this.”
Quotable II: “In the two bad innings where they scored all their runs, we gave them more than three outs,” Andrew coach Dave DeHaan said. “And we pride ourselves on only giving three outs. Give them credit. Their pitcher (Miller) was phenomenal. He’s as good as everybody says he is, but, like I said, we’ve just got to make the plays defensively and make the pitches when we need to, and we just didn’t do that today. So, give them credit. That’s the reason why they’re 25-5.”
Team Records: Lincoln-Way North is 25-5 and 11-0 in the Southwest Suburban Red. The Phoenix hold a one-game league lead with three conference games remaining on their schedule. Andrew is 20-8 and 10-1.
What’s Next: The two teams play the second game of their home-and-home series at 4:30 p.m. Friday, May 11, in Tinley Park. Then, Lincoln-Way North plays at Bloom Township on Saturday, May 12. Andrew hosts Thornridge on Tuesday, May 15.