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St. Charles North second baseman Jake Chantos tags out Geneva's Garrett Davis as he attempts to steal during Wednesday's game at East Side Sports Complex in St. Charles. | Jeff Krage/For Sun-Times Media
By the looks of things, better keep an eye out for St. Charles North’s baseball team next spring.
The North Stars continued their sizzling summer on Wednesday, riding a five-run second inning and sharp relief pitching from Chris Sawicki to a 5-3 win over Lake Park in the championship game of the second Wood Bat Tournament in Roselle.
Catcher Kyle Khoury, who started the five-run uprising with a leadoff double, likes the look of this group.
“Our young guys have come up and we’ve really clicked as a team,” Khoury said. “We’re doing well this summer. Hopefully we can carry it over to the spring.”
Indeed, St. Charles North is 20-1 this summer — the only loss the jayvee portion of a doubleheader against Batavia. An infusion of soon-to-be juniors fresh off a 29-4 sophomore spring season has bolstered St. Charles North’s returning group that advanced to a Class 4A sectional semifinal.
The North Stars got to Wednesday’s final by beating Geneva 8-6 earlier in the day, rallying from deficits of 4-1 and 6-3 with a couple big hits from Luke Corcoran.
“I’m really excited about this group of sophomores. We knew we had talent, but it’s nice to see it on the field,” St. Charles North coach Todd Genke said. “They don’t let anything get them down. No lead is too large to build on, no deficit to deep to dig out of.”
The North Stars scored 40 runs over the five-game tournament — and wasted no time getting things rolling against Lake Park.
Tyler Madsen followed Khoury’s double in the second inning with a line-drive single to center to make it 1-0, a second run scored on an error and Brendan Joyce followed with a bullet single to make it 3-0. Kyle Novotany capped things off with a two-out, two-run single.
“We got those five runs early and that’s big,” Genke said, “especially with the wood bats and the wind blowing in today.”
Lake Park (13-9) came right back in the next half-inning, scoring three times to slice into the deficit. Dom Fallico singled in a run and with two outs Kenny Schultz laced an opposite-field two-run single. The Lancers couldn’t draw closer, despite getting the leadoff man on in both the fifth and sixth.
“We had plenty of opportunities,” Lake Park coach Dan Colucci said. “We had guys on base, had opportunities. But St. Charles North is a great team. They take advantage of opportunities and mistakes.”
Sawicki helped shut the door.
Relieving Nick Barsanti to start the fourth, Sawicki — more of a catcher/infielder by trade — struck out two in four innings of work.
He got out of a two-on, two-out jam in the fourth. In the fifth Sawicki got a big assist from his defense, Joyce throwing a runner out at the plate trying to score on a single.
“He was mixing his pitches up well, keeping them guessing,” said Khoury, who caught both games Wednesday. “They didn’t know what was coming.”
Lake Park also received nice relief work from Jim McDonald. McDonald, in his longest outing since returning from arm soreness, came on in the second and notched three-plus innings of scoreless work.
“He’s a junior we’re looking forward to seeing next year,” Colucci said.
Lake Park advanced to the final with a 4-3 win over Glenbard North earlier in the day, Nick Worchester scoring the game-winner on an error in the seventh.