There were two defining elements in the Upstate Eight Conference crossover baseball game between visiting South Elgin and Geneva on Monday afternoon: defense and baserunning.
South Elgin turned double plays to largely negate its two miscues, but Geneva could only wish for such an outcome.
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Committing 8 errors on the day, Geneva could only watch helplessly as the Storm parlayed the Vikings' mistakes into several scoring opportunities en route to an 8-3 victory.
Geneva (4-5, 1-3) also had its best opportunity to turn its fortunes in its half of the third, only to have the lead man with runners at the corners and one out thrown out on a pickle play.
South Elgin starter David Palmer induced an innocuous pop out to end the threat, and Geneva would never come closer than a pair of runs the rest of the way.
"The focus of the game changed (after that play)," Geneva coach Matt Hahn said.
"That was huge, to get my defense to make a play like that," said Palmer, who went the distance to improve to 2-0 on the season. "It gave me all the confidence after that."
South Elgin (4-1, 4-0) began its offensive output in the most conventional of manners.
Nicholas Binder staked the Storm to a 1-0 lead with one out in the top of the first with a solo blast over the right-center fence.
"I just knew (the Geneva pitcher) threw a lot of first-pitch fastballs," said Binder. "I was waiting for it. (Home run) No. 1 for my career."
Bobby Hess' near duplicate shot knotted the game for Geneva in its half, but Joe Crivolio would give the Storm the lead for good when his opposite-field drive tucked only feet inside the left-field foul pole in the Storm second.
In what would then become an exchange of birthday presents, South Elgin scored three times in its third inning; Ryan Nutof had a two-out double the opposite way for the lone South Elgin hit in the inning.
Riley Halter and Binder scored on back-to-back two-base throwing errors earlier in the inning.
Trailing 5-1 after two at-bats, Ben Slattery and Luke Polishak gave Geneva hope with consecutive doubles to begin the Vikings' third.
The latter would also later score on a wild pitch, but the Vikings' comeback attempt was fatally undermined by a mental mistake on the base paths.
Palmer would settle down, and the Storm conversely continued to capitalize on Geneva mistakes.
"They were making mistakes, and we just put the ball in play," Binder said.
"I don't have an answer," Hahn said. "All five losses, (defense) has killed us. Way too many errors to win high school baseball games right now."
Nutof and Justin Markel had back-to-back, two-out run-scoring singles for South Elgin in its seventh.
"We're taking the program in the right direction," South Elgin coach Jim Kating said.