Byline: Dave Miller Daily Herald Sports Writer
Naperville Central is off to a good start in no small part to senior pitcher Jenni Iacovelli.
The lefty was at her stingy ways again Wednesday afternoon, scattering 5 hits in pitching the Redhawks to a 4-1 victory over host Wheaton North in DuPage Valley action.
Iacovelli is the ace of a staff which has allowed only 13 runs in 13 games. While she is in select company with Glenbard North's Lindsey Veselsky, Waubonsie Valley's Jenny Schade, Addison Trail's Kristen Brestan and Lake Park's Melissa Kennedy as the last aces who remain undefeated in DuPage County, Iacovelli will be the first to tell you she is not as dominant as the others.
"I'm not a strikeout pitcher," said Iacovelli, who walked one and struck out one in improving to 9-0. "I average between 3 and 4. We're definitely a team. It's not a one person thing.
"My defense has always been there for me. I know I can pitch it right down the tube and if they hit it our defense is going to go after it with their heart. Offensively, we've just be 'on.' "
Such was the case against Wheaton North. The Redhawks used their usual formula of solid pitching, defense and hitting to run their record to 12-1 overall and 2-0 in the DVC.
"There isn't any aspect of the game that I didn't think we could do this well," said Naperville Central coach Andy Nussbaum. "What is really surprising is that we've been so consistent, but our players believe in themselves. I don't know if we've ever had a team that's more confident in themselves and each other than this one."
The game was scoreless until Naperville Central scored twice in the top of the fifth. Lora Jonikas drove in the first run with a triple into right-center. She scored on Mary Rafferty's grounder up the middle.
Wheaton North (11-6, 1-1) cut the gap to 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth when Elizabeth Keifer drew a leadoff walk and later scored from third on Kristina Artner's fielder's choice.
The Redhawks answered with 2 runs in the sixth to move ahead 4- 1. Lori Chirumbolo, who went 3-for-4, and Sarah Goodfellow opened the inning with singles, then Iacovelli delivered an RBI double. The second run scored on an error.
Wheaton North committed 3 errors behind pitcher Stacie Frey (6- 5). The senior gave up 7 hits, walked one and struck out six.
"Our defense did not play the way we normally play," said Falcons coach Jason Stipp. "That was the biggest factor today. We've played a lot better."
Iacovelli was asked if the Redhawks can keep up their pace.
"I think so," she said. "We've got a tough schedule. We've got (Naperville) North on Friday, York on Saturday and Glenbard North on Monday so we'll see. We're going to come after them and I know they're going to come after us."
Glenbard North 2, West Chicago 1: Lindsey Veselsky struck out 16 batters Wednesday to lead Glenbard North to a 2-1 home victory over West Chicago.
"This was a productive week for us," said Panthers' coach Jim McKinney.
"First, we win at Wheaton Warrenville South, the first time we've beaten them in three years, and now we have a victory over our great rival, West Chicago, for the first time in almost three years."
For the first five innings, Veselsky (11-0) pitched to the minimum 15 batters, as her catcher Alisia Figueroa cut down the only two base runners on steal attempts.
However, the Wildcats (5-7, 1-1) managed to tag Veselsky for 2 hits in each of the last two innings.
They scored in the seventh when Casey Connolly, the only player to have 2 hits in the game, doubled and was safe at third on an overthrow. West Chicago pitcher Kelly McCarthy followed with a solid single to score Connolly. But Veselsky got the last two hitters to preserve the 2-1 victory.
"After I gave up the two hits I focused more," Veselsky said. …