Rubin's Catch Saves Victory
McGavin, Kevin, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Kevin McGavin Daily Herald Correspondent
For Naperville Central left fielder Josh Rubin, the final at-bat of the home opener with Fremd proved to be a fitting combination of perseverance and preservation.
The Vikings had clawed to within a single run and had runners at first and second in the top of the seventh. Rubin, who had three doubles, was playing medium depth when Fremd's Matt Nemshick hit a seemingly routine fly to left.
"The sun was directly in my eyes and the wind was blowing it behind me," he explained.
Rubin circled the ball and made a crucial lunge, snaring the final out of the game as the Redhawks, who had a pair of 3-run innings, staved off the Vikings' two-out, seventh-inning rally to win their season opener 6-5 Saturday afternoon in Naperville.
Fremd (0-1) faced a 6-3 deficit entering the final inning, but three consecutive two-out singles scored Ted Flemming and Scott Humphries (2-for-3, 2 RBI). Andy Ratchford, who hurled the final four innings for the Redhawks, then induced Nemshick to fly to left.
"Any ball that was hit in the air had a chance to drop," said Fremd coach Paul Belo of the gusting winds blowing straight out and generally causing havoc for the fielders. "It was definitely proven today."
Naperville Central (1-0) jumped on Fremd starter Tom Mintjal in the first as the first two batters, Willie Potter and Rubin, both of whom went 3-for-4, reached on a single and double, respectively.
Potter scored on a Pat Tumilty sacrifice fly, while Rubin tallied on a David Atkinson double. A.J. Sagen, who singled, made it 3-0 when he scored on a Vikings error.
Humphries had a run-scoring double inside the first-base bag in the top of the third and the Vikings tied the contest with a pair in the top of the fourth on a Ryan Blake double and a Steve Rollins single up the middle.
The tie did not last long as the Redhawks greeted new Viking reliever Russ Anderson with three runs the following at-bat on a pair of clutch two-out hits. Atkinson did the honors first, scoring Potter with a lined single to right-center, while Jason Paquette brought home two, including Tumilty, who had coaxed a walk, and Atkinson, whose theft of second proved instrumental.
"The first game is always the hardest," said Naperville Central coach Bill Seiple. "We've got some great athletes on this team."
"It was a great opener," concurred Belo.
York 4-17, Wheaton North 2-7: York's 3-run rally in the bottom of the sixth won the opener, then the Dukes scored 10 runs in the third inning to sweep the nonconference doubleheader in Elmhurst. …