How long has it been since the Batavia baseball team started 4-0?
So long that Matt Holm, who has been coaching the Bulldogs the past 21 seasons, couldn't remember ever doing it.
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Batavia capped a perfect first week of the season with a 2-run rally in the sixth inning Saturday, beating a Marmion roster filled with several kids who grew up in Batavia playing with many of these Bulldogs.
That 5-3 victory -- and the 4-0 record with wins over Wheaton Warrenville South, Willowbrook and Naperville North -- was music to Batavia catcher Dino Simoncelli's ears.
"I know most of them (the Cadets), I've played with a lot of them over the summer," said Simoncelli, who broke a 3-3 tie with an RBI single down the left-field line in the bottom of the sixth inning. "It's fun. A little smack talk here and there. Bragging rights, it's nice."
Simoncelli's game-winning hit came off Danny Bicknell, one of those Cadets Simoncelli knows well. It came on an 0-2 pitch and drove in Robbie Bowman, who had led off the inning with a single and moved to second base on Andrew Seigler's sacrifice bunt.
"I've faced Danny a lot, we've been friends, we've been on the same team, I know what he has," Simoncelli said. "I was just trying to be an aggressive 0-2 hitter. I was looking outside, he threw one inside and I just turned on it."
Laren Eustace followed with an RBI triple for an insurance run, which Micah Coffey made hold up by striking out two in the seventh inning for the save.
Austin Shanahan started for Batavia and worked two innings, lefty Jake Piechota threw the middle four innings and got the win, and Coffey finished -- the three combining for 10 strikeouts and 1 walk.
With new pitching coach Bob Polinsky and Larry Gay working with a staff that has bigger numbers than years past, the Bulldogs have the arms to match their bats. Marmion's first-inning run Saturday was the first this year against a starter.
"We've got 13 pitchers, we think all of them can throw." Holm said. "Bob and Larry are working really hard. Our pitching is something we think we're putting a little extra development in."
Marmion (1-2), which also had an eventful opening week by knocking of state-ranked Joliet Catholic, then losing a tough game at Geneva when the Vikings rallied for 8 runs in the seventh inning, got off to a great start.
Cadets sophomore leadoff hitter Edgar Sanchez ripped a home run to left field to start the game, the third straight game Batavia has given up an extra-base hit to the first batter.
It was the first homer of the season for Marmion.
"I think it might have made it out without the wind but the wind didn't hurt it, that's for sure," Marmion coach Dave Rakow said.
The bottom of Batavia's order keyed a two-out, three-run rally in the second. After Marmion starter Jake Esp (3 innings, 5 strikeouts, 0 walks) got the first two batters on called strikes, Bowman and Seigler singled.
Simoncelli, who finished 2-for-3 with 3 RBI, lofted a ball that fell between Marmion's second baseman, center fielder and right fielder to score two runs, then No. 9 hitter Jeremy Schoessling's RBI single made it 3-1.
"One thing we've been talking about is communicating in the field and taking charge and right there nobody took charge," Rakow said. "Nobody communicated and when you do that bad things happen. You never know but we make the play there maybe we get out unscathed and we win by a run."
Marmion cut the lead to 3-2 in the third on a two-out opposite field double by Alex Troop (2-for-3, 2 doubles), but a perfect 7-6-2 relay from Eustace to Billy Zwick to Simoncelli cut down Sanchez at the plate.
Bicknell tied the game at 3-3 with a triple in the sixth to score Troop. Piechota was able to fan the next hitter to strand the go-ahead run at third, then Batavia rallied in the sixth for the win.
"We're together as a team," Simoncelli said. "We have a lot of good team chemistry. We have all played together and we all like each other and I think that helps a lot."