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Baseball: L-W Central Outlasts L-W East in 10-Inning Senior Day Thriller

Lincoln-Way Central 5, Lincoln-Way East 4: David Rico's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th inning snapped a 4-4 deadlock and lifted the Knights to an emotional victory Thursday in New Lenox.

Touching All the Bases: On Senior Day, a couple of juniors set the table in Lincoln-Way Central’s 5-4 10-inning baseball victory over district rival Lincoln-Way East Thursday afternoon in New Lenox. Then, with the bases loaded and nobody out in the bottom of the 10th, senior David Rico drove in the winning run for the Knights with a sacrifice fly to center field.

Junior left-hander Matt Mikolajczak 3.1 innings of scoreless relief to gain the pitching win. He retired 10 of the 11 batters he faced. And fellow junior Grant Bartell started the Knights’ game-winning rally with a seeing-eye single the tipped off the glove of Lincoln-Way East second baseman Bobby Kosola and trickled into shallow center. A sacrifice bunt, a throwing error and an intentional walk set the stage for Rico’s heroics.

The Knights' baseball family presented a framed No. 19 jersey to the parents of Tommy Schuman during pre-game ceremonies to honor their seniors. Schuman died unexpectedly on March 31.

Patch’s MVP: David Rico, senior center fielder, Lincoln-Way Central. He lifted a 1-0 pitch into center field for a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th. Pinch-runner Mike Caria scored from third on the play.

Lincoln-Way East Leaders: Kevin Slawkowski (2-for-5), Bobby Kosola (2-for-3, triple, 1 run, 1 RBI), Dylon Pinto (2-for-5), Evan Bloomfield (1-for-5, 1 RBI), Tommy Fuessel (2-for-4, 1 RBI).

Lincoln-Way Central Leaders: Tommy Charles (1-for-4, double), Rick Amaya (2-for-3, 1 run, 1 RBI), Jack Krull (1-for-3, 2-run homer, 2 RBIs), Grant Bartell (2-for-5).

Quotable I: “I recognized the situation,” Lincoln-Way Central’s David Rico said. “You just need a deep flyball so the runner on the third would score. That’s what I tried to do. And I did it.”

Quotable II: “I think it meant a lot, especially with Tommy, knowing how much he would want this,” Lincoln-Way Central’s Grant Bartell said of the Knights winning on Senior Day after presenting a framed jersey to the parents of Tommy Schuman. “He would have loved to come in a pitch those extra 3-4 innings.”

Quotable III: “We did a few things we can’t do in the playoffs—that’s for sure,” Lincoln-Way East coach Paul Babcock said. “A couple things here and there—that’s baseball. We’ve been talking about that all year long.”

Team Records: Lincoln-Way Central is 17-14 overall. The Knights finished 7-7 in the Southwest Suburban Blue. Lincoln-Way East is 18-12. The Griffins ended up 8-6 in conference play.

What’s Next: Lincoln-Way East plays at Joliet Catholic Academy at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 19, then concludes regular-season play with a game at Andrew on Monday, May 21. Lincoln-Way Central plays at Willowbrook at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 19.

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