Batavia pitcher Austin Shanahan was feeling it on the mound, even while he barely could feel his fingers.
The senior started the season with 4 hitless innings, but it took an unearned run in the top of the seventh for the Bulldogs to pull out Tuesday's 4-3 baseball victory over Wheaton Warrenville South at frigid Lee Pfund Stadium in Carol Stream.
Despite the no-decision after 5 innings, Shanahan set a tremendous tone. After surrendering the tying runs in the sixth, Micah Coffey settled down and retired the final six batters he faced to notch the win.
"It was pretty cold, the wind's kind of in your face," said Shanahan, who needed only 66 pitches to cruise through five innings. "You just had to deal with trying to keep your hand warm in the dugout and make sure you're able to grip the ball as soon as you got out there. It's a game situation and you can't afford to waste any pitches getting ready."
WW South starter Baylor Holmes struggled early but limited the damage. A leadoff infield single by Laren Eustace and three walks resulted in only one first-inning run when Robbie Bowman's bases-loaded walk drove in Eustace.
Batavia built a 3-0 lead in the top of the second, taking advantage of a passed ball and an error. Aaron Hurd's RBI single highlighted the inning, but the Bulldogs left runs on the table by stranding five runners through two innings and nine runners overall.
"We didn't have many hits, but we put a couple together," said Batavia coach Matt Holm, whose team got 2 hits from catcher Dean Simoncelli. "We left a lot of people on base, that was the disappointing thing. We didn't take advantage. It should have been a lot easier for Austin."
Justin Kelly had WW South's first and only hit off Shanahan with two outs in the bottom of the fifth. The Tigers finally broke through in the sixth after a hit batter and a walk led by a 2-run triple to deep left field by Kevin Giltz.
Aidan Hernandez tied the game two batters later when his groundout to third drove in Giltz.
Batavia bounced right back in the top of the seventh with the game-winning run. A two-out error with the bases loaded put the Bulldogs ahead to stay at 4-3.
WW South got nothing else going against Coffey. He set down the Tigers in order on only seven pitches in the bottom of the seventh to end the game.
"We only managed a couple hits, but I'm really proud with how they stuck with it," said WW South coach Tim Brylka. "I think if we had a good inning in the top of the seventh we might have gotten one in the bottom of the seventh."
Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevin_schmitCopyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.