Kevin White had quite the debut for St. Charles North on Monday.
White, who played on the sophomore team as a freshman in the spring, went 3-for-4 with four runs batted in and the walk-off game-winner as the North Stars held off Geneva 9-8 in a Phil Lawler Summer Classic opening game.
White also pitched two solid innings of relief.
“I feel a little more pressure now and that I have to do everything right or at least try to,” White said. “It’s definitely better competition.”
White keyed St. Charles North’s strong start with a two-run single in the bottom of the first inning. He then won the game by driving in pinch runner Lucca Sorentino from third base with one out in the bottom of the seventh. Sorrentino had advanced to third base on a passed ball after substituting for Nick DeMarco, who sparked the rally with a leadoff double.
“I was just trying to get it over the infield's head and hoping for a bloop single,” White said. “I just kept my weight back and tried to hit the ball hard.”
White allowed only one hit and an unearned run in two innings of relief. He struck out three.
“He’s one of those kids where nothing really bothers him,” North Stars coach Todd Genke said. “He impressed me. For a kid to be hitting in the No. 5 hole, it tells us we like him. He’s going to be a good one.”
Geneva rallied for five runs in the top of the fourth inning to take a 7-5 lead, but DeMarco’s two-run double gave the North Stars an 8-7 advantage. DeMarco finished 3-for-3 with three doubles and also escaped a based-loaded jam in the top of the seventh to earn the victory.
“I was happy with how we swung the bats, scoring nine runs, I’ll take that any day,” Genke said. “But you’ve got to put away teams, especially a conference opponent that we know is going to give us their best shot.”
Luke Fisher led the Vikings with a two-run homer. Joey Maynard added a two-run double while Blake Breon, Jackson Chase and Mike Klazura had RBI singles.
“Klazura pitched well and gave us three innings at the end and tied the game up with a big hit with two outs,” Geneva coach Brad Wendell said. “And we had some other bright spots. Our younger catcher [Maynard] caught his first game and he’s just a sophomore kid, so we got to see some of the young guys play and that’s what we need to see right now.”