Geneva's 8-run 7th stuns Marmion
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Geneva baseball coach Matt Hahn likes to stress to his team the importance of answering.
"If they score, we've got to score at least one run (the next inning) to get some momentum," said Hahn. "It doesn't matter how many."
The Vikings certainly had the final answer Thursday afternoon.
After Marmion (1-1) put up a 4-spot in the bottom of the sixth to take a seemingly commanding 10-5 lead, Geneva (3-1) responded with an 8-run seventh, capped by Mitch Endriukaitis' towering 3-run home run, to rally for a 13-10 nonconference triumph over the Cadets in Geneva.
Ironically, it was Endriukaitis who led off the inning with a single — 1 of his 3 base hits for the game.
Moments before stepping into the batter's box, Endriukaitis was warming up in the Vikings' bullpen.
After the Cadets issued an intentional walk to freshman Nick Derr, Endriukaitis came in racing down the third-base line to take his at-bat.
"Luckily, Coach Hahn helped me out and called time to let me catch my breath and regain my focus," said Endriukaitis, who drove in 4 runs. "It was the right pitch and I swung and it was a home run."
On his first pitch of the at-bat, a wild pitch allowed the Vikings to tie the game at 10-10.
"It definitely put me in a different mindset," said Endriukaitis.
"I think that calmed him even more," Hahn said of the wild pitch.
The Vikings also received seventh-inning RBI hits from Anthony Bragg, Brock Chenier and Luke Polishak.
"You look at some of the guys who came through in the clutch and you look to our seniors," said Hahn. "Mitch certainly came through in the situation there along with Bobby (Hess), Anthony, Brock, and Luke. The best varsity teams — their seniors come through when you need them to."
Playing from behind didn't seem to faze the Vikings, who trailed 2-0, 3-2, 6-3, 6-4, 6-5 and 10-5.
"That's one of the things we focus on — we never give up," said Endriukaitis. "On our trip down to Jacksonville we were behind in two of our games and came back. That's how this team is. It's a very nice sign."
Sophomore reliever Ben Slattery earned his first varsity win for the Vikings, while Zach Siwiec (0-1) suffered the loss for the Cadets, who finished with 13 base hits.
Marmion's top 8 batters in its lineup all had hits, fueled by R.J. Gibson (3-for-3, 2 RBI), Brady Roberts (2-for-4, 2 doubles, RBI), Siwiec (2-for-3, walk, RBI), and Corey Friel (2-for-4, 2 runs scored).
"The at-bats were good," said Cadets coach Dave Rakow. "We strung together a lot of hits. Usually when you put up 10 runs you're going to win the game. Sometimes you've got to give the other team credit and this is one of those days.
"A lot of teams give up when they're down by five runs in the seventh inning," added Rakow. "These guys didn't. Part of the credit has to go to them and part of the blame is on us."
Marmion relief pitchers allowed 10 runs, 9 hits and 4 walks over the final 3 frames.
"We know we have talent but they have to learn how to win games at the varsity level and we're not there yet," said Rakow, whose teams have won 4 straight conference titles. "We can play with these good teams but we have to learn how to finish off these games."
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