CAROL STREAM – Matt Albin was scheduled to start Glenbard North’s DuPage Valley Conference opener against Naperville North Monday before it was pushed back two days because of the weather.
The extra rest didn’t seem to faze him.
Coming up three outs short of a perfect game, the Panthers’ senior right-hander had to settle for a one-hit, 12-strikeout performance in leading his team to a 6-0 victory Wednesday.
“I had an idea what was going to work,” Albin said. “My change up wasn’t 100 percent but my curveball I was able to get over for a strike eight out of 10 times. And I was working my fastball in and out.
“I was mixing it up really well. Keeping them off balance, that’s the biggest key for me.”
Albin said he became aware that he had a perfect game intact in the fourth or fifth inning. The senior struck out the final two batters in the sixth frame before yielding a base hit up the middle to Huskies’ leadoff hitter Ryan Krainz to begin the seventh. He then fanned two of the next three batters to close it out.
“My heart was racing, I obviously knew I had a perfect game going,” said Albin, who said he went through his normal routine between innings of putting on his jacket and sitting in the corner of the dugout. “I was just trying to keep doing what I was doing the first six innings. But I got a curveball up and he put a good bat on it. It is what it is. It’s a great win, that’s all the counts.”
Glenbard North coach Rich Smelko has seen performances like this before from his ace.
“He is a three-year starter for us, and when he takes the mound, we really feel good about ourselves,” Smelko said. “We know we will get a good performance. He throws three pitches for strikes and we know we will be in the game when he takes the mound.”
Albin also helped himself out at the plate with a two-run single in the sixth, which was part of a four-run frame that pushed the lead to 6-0. An RBI hit by Nolan Jasinski started off the scoring in the second, and Jim Krippinger followed with a solo home run in the fourth.
“That two-out hit by Nolan in the second inning was big,” Smelko said. “To get that one run on the board, the way Matt was throwing, one run probably seemed like three or four to those guys.
The Panthers were scheduled to close out their three-game series with Naperville North on the road today at 11 a.m. after also taking on the Huskies on Thursday.
Glenbard North was coming off a 4-0 loss against St. Charles East on Saturday. The squad was held to five hits with Luke Greenberg collecting two of them. Greenberg also started on the mound and pitched 5 ⅓ innings, allowing two earned runs.
Two days earlier, the Panthers dropped an 8-5 game against Rolling Meadows despite the offense pounding out 11 hits. Eric Orze, Alex Barrett and Krippinger had two hits apiece and all contributed a double. Krippinger, Orze, Albin and Jasinski all drove in runs.