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updated: 4/20/2017 9:12 PM

Baseball: Naperville Central 'one pitch better' than Waubonsie Valley

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  • Naperville Central's Connor Gurnik hits a grand slam home run against Waubonsie Valley during a 5-3 win in Naperville.

      Naperville Central's Connor Gurnik hits a grand slam home run against Waubonsie Valley during a 5-3 win in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Naperville Central's Connor Gurnik fields a ground ball during a 5-3 win over Waubonsie Valley in Naperville.

      Naperville Central's Connor Gurnik fields a ground ball during a 5-3 win over Waubonsie Valley in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Waubonsie Valley third baseman Jacob Vandrie tags out Naperville Central's Joshua Boomgarden (21).

      Waubonsie Valley third baseman Jacob Vandrie tags out Naperville Central's Joshua Boomgarden (21).
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Naperville Central's Ryan Eiermann takes a swing against Waubonsie Valley during a 5-3 win in Naperville.

      Naperville Central's Ryan Eiermann takes a swing against Waubonsie Valley during a 5-3 win in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Waubonsie Valley' second baseman Will Isdell throws out Naperville Central runner.

      Waubonsie Valley' second baseman Will Isdell throws out Naperville Central runner.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Naperville Central's Ryan Eiermann delivers a pitch against Waubonsie Valley during a 5-3 win in Naperville. Eiermann struck out all six Waubonsie Valley batters he faced.

      Naperville Central's Ryan Eiermann delivers a pitch against Waubonsie Valley during a 5-3 win in Naperville. Eiermann struck out all six Waubonsie Valley batters he faced.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Naperville Central' shortstop Connor Gurnik fields a ground ball during a 5-3 win over Waubonsie Valley in Naperville.

      Naperville Central' shortstop Connor Gurnik fields a ground ball during a 5-3 win over Waubonsie Valley in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Waubonsie Valley's Eric Esch slides safely into second base under the tag of Naperville Central's Gabe Soria.

      Waubonsie Valley's Eric Esch slides safely into second base under the tag of Naperville Central's Gabe Soria.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Naperville Central's Thomas Carlsen battles Waubonsie Valley during boys baseball action in Naperville.

      Naperville Central's Thomas Carlsen battles Waubonsie Valley during boys baseball action in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Naperville Central's Thomas Carlsen eyes the ball against Waubonsie Valley during boys baseball action in Naperville.

      Naperville Central's Thomas Carlsen eyes the ball against Waubonsie Valley during boys baseball action in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Waubonsie Valley baseball coach Brian Acevedo reacts after one of his players scored a run against Naperville Central.

      Waubonsie Valley baseball coach Brian Acevedo reacts after one of his players scored a run against Naperville Central.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Waubonsie Valley's Alex Schram delivers a pitch against Naperville Central.

      Waubonsie Valley's Alex Schram delivers a pitch against Naperville Central.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Naperville Central's Tyler Brinker delivers a pitch against Waubonsie Valley during a 5-3 win in Naperville.

      Naperville Central's Tyler Brinker delivers a pitch against Waubonsie Valley during a 5-3 win in Naperville.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Naperville Central's Connor Gurnik, right, celebrates his grand slam home run against Waubonsie Valley. Other teammates celebrating include: Gabe Soria (3) left, Kyle Bennington (4) and Ryan Eiermann (11).

      Naperville Central's Connor Gurnik, right, celebrates his grand slam home run against Waubonsie Valley. Other teammates celebrating include: Gabe Soria (3) left, Kyle Bennington (4) and Ryan Eiermann (11).
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Naperville Central's Connor Gurnik, center, celebrates his grand slam home run against Waubonsie Valley with Ryan Eiermann (11) and Kyle Bennington, behind, during a 5-3 win in Naperville. At left are Gabe Soria (3) and Aaron Szczepanski (24).

      Naperville Central's Connor Gurnik, center, celebrates his grand slam home run against Waubonsie Valley with Ryan Eiermann (11) and Kyle Bennington, behind, during a 5-3 win in Naperville. At left are Gabe Soria (3) and Aaron Szczepanski (24).
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

 
 

One swing by Connor Gurnik summed up the goal of every hitter in Thursday's baseball game between Naperville Central and Waubonsie Valley.

With a howling wind blowing out, Gurnik was the only player able to loft a shot for a home run. And it was a big one.

The senior shortstop's fourth-inning grand slam powered Naperville Central to a 5-3 DuPage Valley Conference victory over the visiting Warriors.

A bases-loaded single by Kyle Bennington pulled the Redhawks (10-5, 6-4) within 2-1, and then Gurnik launched his go-ahead home run over the left-field fence.

Waubonsie Valley starter Alex Schram, who struck out seven in five innings, did a brilliant job getting the Warriors (8-7, 4-6) out of a bases-loaded jam with no outs in the third inning but couldn't duplicate the magic in the fourth.

"We had a feeling we were going to get something at the plate," Gurnik said. "Someone just had to come up with a hit. I just relaxed and put a good swing on it."

The Warriors got a run back on Chris Ralph's RBI single in the fifth, but winning pitcher Tyler Brinker kept it right there. Ryan Eiermann was untouchable in two innings of relief for the save, striking out six and hitting a batter.

"We were kind of able to wiggle out of it in the third inning," said Waubonsie Valley coach Bryan Acevedo. "Doing it twice is pretty difficult. Connor Gurnik, as we know from the last two-and-a-half years, is a real good baseball player. They were one pitch better than us."

Waubonsie Valley broke out to a 2-0 second-inning lead on Jacob Vandrie's sacrifice fly and Matt Oliver's run-scoring single.

"We're relying on a couple guys too much and we need some other guys to step up," said Redhawks coach Mike Stock. "It was frustrating the one inning, but give Connor credit there. It was great to see it jump off his bat."

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