Touching All the Bases: Jake McCabe’s new teammates were singing his praises long before he threw a two-hit shutout in Lincoln-Way North’s 10-0 five-inning baseball victory over Stagg Thursday in Frankfort. Phoenix coach Joe Skarbek first caught wind of the chatter during the off-season after McCabe’s family moved from Matteson and he enrolled at Lincoln-Way North. Skarbek’s reaction? “We’ll see.”
Skarbek has become a more and more of a believer each time McCabe takes the mound. McCabe threw strikes and limited the Chargers to two singles—one by Mike Farnan and the other by Brian Valcarcel—on a day when the wind shifted just before the opening pitch and the temperature tumbled. In between, he retired 11 batters in a row.
The Phoenix backed McCabe with another double-digit scoring effort—10 runs on 12 hits, including three by junior right fielder Alex Neufeld. The victory was North’s second straight over Stagg and completed a two-game sweep of the series. Chargers starter Joe Prete (1-3) exited with two outs in the third because of a shoulder injury.
Patch’s MVP: Jake McCabe, junior right-handed pitcher, Lincoln-Way North. McCabe (3-1) pitched a two-hit shutout and struck out two. He retired 11 straight batters in one stretch and limited Stagg to two singles—one in the first and one in the fifth. He relied on his fastball, curve and changeup. He had two eight-pitch innings.
Stagg Leaders: Mike Farnan (1-for-2, single in the first), Brian Valcarcel (1-for-2, single in the fifth).
Lincoln-Way North Leaders: Alex Neufeld (3-for-3, 3 runs, 3 RBIs), Corey Krupske (2-for-3, 2 runs, 1 RBI and a steal of home), Ryan Pellack (2-for-2, 2 RBIs), Jack Troike (2-for-3, double, 1 RBI), Josh Handzik (2-for-2, double, 2 runs), Tyler Gaynor (1-for-2, double, 2 runs).
Quotable I: “He’s great because he’s efficient,” Lincoln-Way North coach Joe Skarbek said of Phoenix right-hander Jake McCabe. “He doesn’t try to strike everyone out, and that really helps us. His pitch count stays low. He gets a lot of balls that come right back to him. He’s got a lot of late movement. He’s got a low arm slot. We reap the benefits of it.”
Quotable II: “I was just trying to attack those guys—let my defense work,” Lincoln-Way North right-hander Jake McCabe said. “Coach is always saying, ‘Throw strikes.’ That’s what I tried to do—make it quick for our defense today.”
Quotable III: Lincoln-Way North’s Jake McCabe met many of his new baseball teammates during the basketball season. “They came to all the games,” he said. “I’d see them in school. Then, tryouts came around. I was still the new kid. But I got acquainted with everyone, and they saw I could play a little bit. So, I’m just trying to help the team win.”
Quotable IV: “He was pitching with a lead,” Stagg coach Matt O’Neill said. “It’s pretty easy to pitch with a lead. And, on top of that, it helps when you’ve got a pretty good defensive team behind you, which they have. Right now, for us, we’re not hitting. We’re not throwing the ball over (the plate), and we’re not playing defense. Right now, I don’t know who we’re going to be able to beat. Things aren’t going well.”
Team Records: Lincoln-Way North is 14-4 overall and 4-0 in the Southwest Suburban Red. Stagg is 7-11 and 2-2.
What’s Next: Both teams play Friday. Stagg is at Lincoln-Way Central at 4:30 p.m. Lincoln-Way North is at Oak Forest at 4:30 p.m.