The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

Baseball team takes down Crystal Lake Central in 12-2 win

On Monday, March 11, 2024, the varsity baseball team opened the season at home against the Crystal Lake Central Tigers, winning the six-inning home opener 12-2. 

Coming off a successful previous season with a tie for first in the North Suburban Conference (NSC), the Wildcats had many returning players and an opportunity to keep the momentum and energy going to start the 2023-24 season. 

The visiting Tigers were first up to bat, hitting a grounder out to third base and a pop fly out to center field, but the Wildcats stopped the momentum and kept the Tigers at bay. Junior and pitcher Josh Holst (15) closed out the top of the inning with a strikeout, ushering in the Wildcats to bat. 

Holst attributed much of the game’s success and preparation to the team’s intent in practice. 

“We’re a lot more focused than we have been in the past and we’re just really excited to get these games going,” Holst said.

Starting off the bottom of the first inning strong, junior Cole Lockwood (1) took first base and after a few pitches, stole second to keep the Tigers on their feet. After a hard fought at-bat, sophomore Chase Lockwood (11) struck out but ushered in the opportunity for Cole Lockwood to steal two bases, making it home after an overthrown ball into the outfield, putting the Wildcats on the scoreboard. 

After a series of deep hits to the outfield by juniors Johnny Leoris (6) and Mason Strader (13), the Wildcats ended the inning up 2-0. 

The Tigers scored their first run during the top of the third inning. However, it was the fourth inning that saw the Wildcats pull away from the visiting team.

Sophomore Trevor Wallace (3) grounded a ball at second base and tossed to first baseman and junior Zach Seiler (20) for the first out and momentum continued for the Wildcats. 

“The team chemistry is definitely there and we just love to hit and love to get on teams,” Holst said. “So we’re really looking forward to just having fun.” 

In the bottom of the fourth, the Wildcats boosted their total runs, with senior Jack Carey (25) hitting a grounder to center field. The bases were loaded by the time Wallace took a walk to first. A direct hit by Chase Lockwood to left field brought Carey and Wallace back home. 

The Wildcats saw bases loaded again as Holst and junior Quinn Schambow (23), committed to the Air Force Academy and Oklahoma State University respectively, took bases one after the other. Schambow, a catcher and right hand pitcher, made it home to score the home team’s fifth run of the game. 

As play continued, Leoris hit a grounder out to right field, bringing in two runs and keeping the Wildcats up 7-1. The

Wildcats grew their lead and ended the inning with a 9-1 lead over Crystal Lake Central. 

Cole Lockwood said that the team leaned into using their talents. 

“We all just played relaxed [and] we were capable of playing within ourselves,” Cole Lockwood said.

Head Coach Matt Thompson, in his eighth year in the position, attributed the win to “good, quality defense, no errors, pitchers attacking the zone and all phases of the game [going] well.” 

Coach Thompson also said a goal for the team this season is to “win it all.” 

The Wildcats ended the sixth inning and the game with a score of 12-2, a strong end to their first game of the season and a clear message to the teams in the conference that they are ready to come out swinging. 

The Wildcats will next play the Barrington Broncos away on Wednesday, March 13. 

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