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updated: 7/21/2011 8:45 PM

Harlem's ace shuts down Geneva

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  • Geneva's Bobby Hess legs out a single against Harlem during the St. Charles East regional championship game Thursday.

       Geneva's Bobby Hess legs out a single against Harlem during the St. Charles East regional championship game Thursday.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Geneva first baseman Anthony Bragg can't come up with this smash by Harlem's Alex Feber, a ball that went for a 2-run triple in Harlem's 9-1 win.

       Geneva first baseman Anthony Bragg can't come up with this smash by Harlem's Alex Feber, a ball that went for a 2-run triple in Harlem's 9-1 win.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Geneva pitcher Jeff Konrad covers home plate as Harlem's Cody Dietz scores on a wild pitch in the bottom of the sixth inning during the St. Charles East regional championship game Thursday. Geneva lost 9-1.

       Geneva pitcher Jeff Konrad covers home plate as Harlem's Cody Dietz scores on a wild pitch in the bottom of the sixth inning during the St. Charles East regional championship game Thursday. Geneva lost 9-1.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Geneva's Anthony Bragg reacts after ending the fifth inning with a ground out to end a rally with two runners on base against Harlem during the St. Charles East regional championship game Thursday.

       Geneva's Anthony Bragg reacts after ending the fifth inning with a ground out to end a rally with two runners on base against Harlem during the St. Charles East regional championship game Thursday.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 

It's probably not a good thing to have your baseball fortunes compared to the Chicago Cubs, and that's where Geneva found itself after a 9-1 loss to Harlem Thursday in the championship game of the St. Charles East regional.

The fourth-seeded Vikings took the field about 15 hours after an emotional 5-4 win over No. 1 St. Charles North, and Geneva struggled to get anything going Thursday against No. 2 Harlem and hard-throwing right-hander Drake Robison.

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"I know it's summer but I still think this meant something to the guys," Geneva coach Matt Hahn said. "Yesterday was an emotional win and then to come back and play at 1 today, you know how the Cubs feel every day playing a day game after a night game.

"They only have 1 loss this summer, you can see why."

The Vikings were quick to credit Robison. With Northern Illinois University scouts keeping a radar gun and close eye on Robison, he allowed just 5 hits and 0 walks while striking out 10.

"He was very, very good," Hahn said. "That is one of the top two or three pitchers we've seen all summer. That was their No. 1 pitcher, we were down the line a little bit in our pitching."

Harlem (18-1) advances to the state tournament Monday at North Central College and Benedictine University. It's their first trip to state in the summer. They last made it to state in the spring high school season in 1990.

Harlem got there the last three days by knocking out a trio of area teams: Kaneland 5-0, Batavia 8-5 and now Geneva.

"We were lucky, he (Robison) had pitched over the weekend with his travel team and it fell into place he could pitch the championship game Thursday," Harlem assistant coach Steve McCloy said. "He has been pitching well since his freshman year at Harlem."

Geneva ends the summer at 19-10-2 after reaching the regional championship game for the first time.

"That kid (Robison) was a great way to get ready for next spring," Geneva catcher John Swiderski said. "I thought we did all right. We need to concentrate on shortening our swings a little. It's a team game now, especially with the new bats.

"This is a very good team. We have good hitters. We have 20-some guys, and everyone has a job, everyone has a role to play. We want to take this momentum into next year. I think (Geneva) baseball is a sport to look at this year."

Robison got going early, striking out the first two batters of the game and retiring Geneva's first eight hitters until Bobby Hess bounced a single up the middle.

Geneva scored its only run in the fourth when Matt Williams singled, took third on Swiderski's single and scored on a ground ball by Jake Weede.

Harlem jumped on Geneva starter Tony Landi in the first inning. Alex Feber led off with a triple and scored on a double play grounder.

"Once the first couple guys struck out and their first guy hits a triple, it kind of took the wind out," Hahn said.

A 3-run third inning gave Robison all the cushion he needed. No. 3 hitter Derrick Mason doubled in the first run and Porter Anderson followed with a 2-run homer to make it 4-0.

Harlem kept adding to its lead, scoring two runs in the fourth, one in the fifth and two more in the sixth.

Late in the game Hahn went to his bench and got many of his reserves an at-bat or a chance in the field as Geneva's most successful summer season came to a close.

"I don't put the stock in today, I put the stock in our whole summer," Hahn said. "The fact we got here, we were one of 16 teams still standing. We beat some good teams along the way.

"I'm real happy with the whole summer. They (Harlem) were the better team today and that's why they are moving on."

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