Batavia, Geneva split doubleheader
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Geneva didn't look at Saturday's doubleheader at Batavia as a chance to play spoiler, but the Vikings did deliver a blow to the Bulldogs' bid for an Upstate Eight Conference River title.
Tony Landi tossed a complete game in the second game, using pinpoint command in a 0-walk outing to give the Vikings a 6-3 victory after the Bulldogs had won the opener by the same 6-3 score.
Batavia (19-5, 13-5) fell a game behind St. Charles East (16-7, 14-4) in the River race while Geneva (14-11, 11-9) gave itself a chance to win the series from Batavia when the teams meet for the rubber match Tuesday in Geneva.
"We're just looking to play our best baseball going into the playoffs," Geneva coach Matt Hahn said. "We're getting close. I feel we can still get better in some areas. Plus we are staying healthy now. Guys aren't dropping like flies. And we're getting a lot of contributions."
The Vikings certainly did at the plate with Anthony Bragg (3-for-3), Luke Polishak (3-for-4), Nick Derr, Bobby Hess, Ben Chally and Nate Montgomery all getting at least 2 hits in a 15-hit attack. Geneva's 6 RBI came from six different hitters.
That was more than enough support for Landi, their big righty who scattered 8 hits while maintaining a perfect record now at 4-0.
Batavia touched Landi for a pair of runs in the first inning -- a triple down the right field line by Micah Coffey the key hit -- before Landi limited the Bulldogs to Jake Piechota's RBI single in the sixth inning the rest of the way.
"I missed my spots in that first," Landi said. "I got the ball down (after that) and knew the boys behind me would take care of me. I've been just trying to keep the ball down and I was able to do that today."
Landi set the Bulldogs down 1-2-3 in the seventh, ending the day and sending his teammates scurrying to get ready for prom by stabbing Billy Zwick's comebacker and tossing to Bragg at first base.
"When guys are making plays and I'm making my pitches it just gives me that much more confidence to attack and be aggressive in the zone and not try to to pick," Landi said.
Landi said he relied on getting good movement on his fastball while mixing in a few change-ups and sliders.
"Tony is not 4-0 by accident," Hahn said. "He was locating and commanding all his pitches which is why he's had success this year."
Geneva jumped on Batavia starter Austin Shanahan scoring once in the first, twice in the second and twice in the third before knocking him out with another run in the fifth.
Chally put the Vikings ahead 1-0 with an RBI single in the first after earlier singles from Brock Chenier and Hess.
Geneva kept the bats going in the second inning with Montgomery, a sophomore called up to catch this past week, singling in a run to tie the game 2-2 before Polishak put Geneva ahead to stay with another run-scoring single.
Dan Berendt ripped a double to deep left for a 4-2 lead in the third, and Bragg plated the fifth run with a sacrifice fly.
Derr drove in Geneva's final run in the fifth off reliever Laren Eustace who tossed 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.
"If there's anything from the second game that's a little under the skin is we didn't respond," Batavia coach Matt Holm said. "We knew they'd hit the ball. The second game we just didn't respond. Shanahan only had one pitch he could throw for a strike and they hit everything he threw."
Emilio Tenuta got Batavia off to a good start in the opener, just missing a complete game in a matchup against Geneva's Jordan Touro (8 strikeouts, 3 walks, 7 hits).
Tenuta harmlessly set Geneva's first two batters down in the seventh inning before running into trouble plunking Chenier on a 2-strike pitch, giving up a single to Hess and walking Berendt to put the tying runs on base.
Holm turned to Austin VanKempen to face Chally who made solid contact on a liner right at Eustace in left field for the final out.
"I trust Coach bringing in a guy to finish it for me. Adrenaline was kicking in and I was just trying to stay focused and get the last out," said Tenuta adding he used his fastball to set up what he felt was his most effective pitch, a cutter.
"It's a huge rivalry. I pitched against Geneva sophomore year, last year I didn't pitch as much, so this was my first varsity start against Geneva, I just wanted to come out and shut them out. Not quite but I'm still pleased with the win."
Tenuta allowed 7 hits and just 2 earned runs while fanning four. Hess led Geneva going 3-for-4 with 2 runs while Chally drove in two.
"We talked about between games don't change a single thing," Hahn said. "A lot of our outs were line drives right at people. First time through the order he made us look silly. Second time, third time we were really hitting the ball."
Seven different Bulldogs had hits and four drove in runs. Coffey was 1-for-3 with 2 runs putting him at 3-for-6 on the day.
Holm said Batavia's goal coming into last week was 6-0 to get to 20 wins. They'll have to settle for 5-1.
"It's not easy to sweep the doubleheader," Holm said. "It was a good day but when you lose the second one you walk away a little different. We were hitting the ball better in the first game. Austin hasn't had a day like this in a while. We left a couple guys on, and Landi did a nice job getting out of those situations."
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