What, St. Edward worry?
Not this season. Not with this potent offense.
Determined Aurora Christian rallied for 4 runs to take a 1-run lead on St. Edward in the top of the fifth inning of Thursday's Suburban Christian Conference crossover baseball game in Elgin, but the Green Wave responded with a 5-run sixth to prevail 12-8.
It was the third straight game St. Edward (4-0, 3-0) scored 12 or more runs, but what impressed coach Tim Dovichi most was his team's ability to refocus after two unproductive innings at the plate. St. Edward hitters were retired in order in the fourth and fifth innings, the last three outs coming on 4 pitches. Meanwhile, the Eagles rallied from a 7-4 deficit.
Thoug making three outs on 4 pitches hardly equates to the sit-back-and-drive-it-the-opposite-way hitting style the St. Edward staff preaches, no one panicked.
"Last year I would have been concerned because our team was smaller and we couldn't hit the ball as well as we do this year," Dovichi said. "This year I'm more confident in our hitters, more confident we'll come from behind. We kind of wandered in those 1-2-3 innings and had some not-so-good approaches at the plate. Other than that we hit the ball hard, we put it in play and we made them make mistakes. That was the big thing."
Aurora Christian (2-4, 1-2) started freshmen at shortstop and third base and committed 7 errors. St. Edward played error free. Thus, the Eagles lost a game in which they scored at least 8 runs for the third time this season.
"That's a bit painful," Eagles coach Andy Zorger said. "Defense is what our issue is right now. Too many errors, too many extra outs. A good team like (St. Edward), they're going to keep putting the ball in play and they got some big hits."
The day's biggest hit came off the bat of St. Edward sophomore Scotty Palmer with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth. St. Edward had just knotted the score 8-8 on Ryan Nudd's bases-loaded walk when Palmer, a pinch hitter, grounded hard back to freshman reliever Drew Wagner (0-1). The ball hit the pitching rubber and ricocheted high in the air for an infield single, allowing Jacob Koehring time to score the go-ahead run.
"I just tried to put the ball in play and get the run home," Palmer said. "It hit the mound and just shot up in the air. It was pretty lucky, actually."
Tyler Tamaka followed with a 2-run double to left-center field, scoring Jack Tierney and Nudd for an 11-8 lead. Senior Antonio Domel followed with another run-scoring single to provide the final margin.
Domel and Nudd turned a 6-4-3 double play behind Palmer in the top of the seventh to quell any thoughts of another Aurora Christian comeback.
The Green Wave outhit the Eagles 12-8. St. Edward has scored 45 runs on 45 hits in 4 victories to open the season.
"We've started really good," Tamaka said. "We've been fielding the ball really well, hitting the ball and putting it in play. That's what we have to do. Keep putting it in play and we'll win every game."
Aurora Christian grabbed a 3-0 lead in the first inning on a 3-run home run to center field by junior Tristin Witherow, but St. Edward answered with a 3-run first inning of its own, keyed by Nudd's RBI single.
The game was tied 4-4 in the third inning until St. Edward senior Michael Castoro ripped a 2-run triple to left center and Jake LaFrenz followed with a run-scoring sacrifice fly.
However, Aurora Christian erupted for 4 runs in the fifth to take its 8-7 lead. R.D. Lutze doubled in a run and P.J. Cole tied the game with a 2-run single, chasing St. Edward starting pitcher Tierney. Reliever Nick Boulay (1-0) retired the next two Eagles, but junior Stephen Buhrt's RBI single to right field put Aurora Christian back in the lead.