LOCKPORT -- For a team playing its best baseball of the season, Naperville Central got off to a rough start on Saturday in Lockport. Sophomore starter Dan Ludwig walked the first batter he faced, hit the next and ultimately surrendered three runs in the first inning.
Third baseman Nick Linne's throwing error allowed the game's first run to score. Providence Catholic's Kyle Thomas then crushed an RBI double off the wall in left. Sam Travis next lined a single into left that made it 3-0. It was not the time to be thinking about charter buses to Bloomington.
But Ludwig settled down to throw four consecutive scoreless innings and he left with a 4-3 lead. The lefty didn't have his best stuff, but it was good enough, with the movement to keep the Celtics guessing. It wasn't a matchup they liked.
"I don't think it was any secret (that) we'll hit your fastball, but just keep us off-stride and you can get us out," Providence Catholic coach Mark Smith said. "I think we got a little frustrated there after the first inning. (They) really started mixing it up and we just didn't make the adjustments needed."
As Central coach Bill Seiple said, "What you hope is that pitchers give you a chance to win, and that's what (Ludwig) did."