Both Dundee-Crown and Hampshire handled an 80-minute lightning delay well Saturday in a Fox Valley Conference crossover game.
The D-C offense just handled the entire game a little bit better as Tyler Lewan continued a solid spring with the bat by driving in three runs and Dan Denz pitched two innings of shutout relief for a 5-4 victory over the Whip-Purs.
“You get some momentum swings and we’ve got to figure out a way to stop those momentum swings and get something back in our corner,” Dundee-Crown coach Jon Anderson said.
The Chargers (5-6, 3-1) did exactly that by scoring twice in the third after Hampshire came back from the lightning delay to wipe out a 2-0 deficit with a first-inning run on Mike Merchut’s RBI single and Nick Mohlman’s second-inning RBI groundout following a Dillon Kuhn double.
Lewan, who singled in two runs in the first for a 2-0 lead, grounded to third to score Mark Waldron in the third after Waldron walked and advanced on Zach Girard’s single.
“I have been putting the ball in play and haven’t been striking out,” Lewan said. “I have a lot of good hits. I’m feeling good this spring.”
Lewan gave the Chargers a 3-2 lead they never surrendered. Then Riley Alvarado singled in a run and the Chargers added a critical insurance run in the sixth on Vince Damato’s one-out RBI single, scoring Alvarado.
“We were in a hole, had to chip away, and we didn’t have enough offensive firepower to come back,” Hampshire coach John Sarna said. “We have to work on that.”
Hampshire (2-8, 0-5), which has lost seven straight, appeared ready to break through in the sixth while down 5-2. R.J. Consigny reached on an error and Trey Schramm doubled. Consigny scored on a wild pitch, but Denz, a lefty, came in to relieve right-handed starter Jared Ludwig and struck out Brandon Bowen, got Michael Merchut on an RBI groundout to second and retired Dillon Kuhn on a fly to right. Then Denz set the Whip-Purs down with only a two-out single in the seventh. He retired Mike Kruse on an infield grounder to end the game and get a save.
“Usually I see myself as a starter,” Denz said. “If I go in in relief, that’s fine with me as long as I’m pitching. I just like having the ball.
“In the bullpen I wasn’t really bringing it, but when I got to the mound I felt good.”
Ludwig (1-1) got the win, striking out four while walking one and giving up four hits in five innings.
“Jared threw really well,” Anderson said. “We had a couple defensive mishaps and he got the ball up a couple times and they hit it. Good hitting teams are going to capitalize on a mistake.”
Hampshire starter Trey Schramm (0-1) went 5 2/3 innings, giving up eight hits and walking three but settling down after he got better control of his curve when pitching coach Frank Simoncelli got him to move the position of his thumb.
“Not many kids can do that, make a thumb adjustment in game,” Sarna said. “Once he was able to get comfortable with that his breaking ball was better.”