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Panther pitchers dominate to open DVC

WEST CHICAGO — Pitching was expected to be the strength of the Glenbard North baseball team this spring and that was on full display as DuPage Valley Conference action began this week.

Courtesy of back-to-back one-hitters by Matt Frawley and Kyle Crites, the Panthers kicked off league play with a pair of wins over West Chicago.

In the opener on Monday, Crites struck out 10 in his first varsity start. Frawley provided the offense, belting a three-run homer with two outs in the fifth before adding a two-run blast in the seventh.

“He struggled a little bit the first two innings with letting the leadoff man get on base,” Glenbard North coach Rich Smelko said of Crites. “Obviously he stranded those guys and he really settled down from the third inning on. And we played pretty good defense behind him.”

On Tuesday, it was Frawley’s turn and the Purdue-bound senior didn’t disappoint, striking out nine in his complete-game effort.

“Their first batter in the second inning singled and then they didn’t get a hit after that,” the coach said. “I thought that was one of Matt’s better games from a control standpoint. He didn’t walk a batter.”

The Panthers climbed back to .500 (4-4) with the two victories.

“It’s been tough just because of the weather,” Smelko said. “We really haven’t had too much consistency, especially in regards to our rotation. We’ve been on and off so many times. We are going through some early season struggles like most teams do.”

After wrapping up with West Chicago, the Panthers were scheduled to play Wheaton Academy on Saturday before opening a three-game series against Glenbard East on Monday.

“They are returning quite a few guys,” Smelko said. “I know their record doesn’t indicate how good of a team they are. They are solid up and down the line-up and they have a couple of good pitchers. We will have our hands full.”

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