Barrington catcher Ryan Lidge was not quite sure which he liked better: picking runners off, or hitting a double.
So the senior did both -- twice -- to lead Barrington past Palatine 5-2 Monday in a showdown of the top two baseball teams in the Mid-Suburban West.
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"I told myself last night that I have to start hitting more doubles," said Lidge, who is headed to Notre Dame next year. "Home runs are great and all, but I love the double.
"But I also love picking guys off. I always wanted for it to be part of my game since I was little, and it is starting to come on. I knew I could count on Dylan (Lidge) to be there, and he was."
Barrington (16-8, 10-1) took a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Mitch Pfeiffer, who singled and stole second and third, scored on an error. Dylan Lidge, who had walked, then scored when his brother Ryan blasted a ball off the right field wall.
Palatine (14-11, 8-4) tied it in its half of the first. A two-out walk to Jarrod Juskiewicz kept the inning alive for Zach Serna, who followed with a triple to right. Serna then scored on Greg Grana's RBI single.
Palatine threatened to pull ahead in the bottom of the second, when Ryan Lidge cut the Pirates down.
A hit batter and walk gave Palatine runners on first and second with no outs. But after a missed bunt attempt on the next pitch, Lidge jumped into action. Recoiling like a rattlesnake, Lidge fired a perfect strike 128 feet to pick off the Palatine runner before he could scamper back to second base.
"He is special," Barrington coach Patrick Wire said. "He makes special plays for us when it counted. These guys were trying to get ultra-aggressive leads on their secondaries and get over on a bunt situation. You don't see an arm like his too often, and man oh man, was it fun to watch."
From there, Wyatt Trautwein, who was pitching in front of his grandfather Jack (who pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies) and dad Dave (who pitched for the New York Mets), settled down to get the next two Palatine batters out to end the threat.
In the top of the third, Lidge delivered again. This time his double was to the gap, scoring Mitch Pfeiffer and Dylan Lidge, who each had singled to lead off the inning.
Trautwein took advantage of Lidge's big hit to focus and shut down Palatine. He finished the game by allowing just those two first-inning hits while striking out six and walking five.
"I didn't think I had my best stuff out there today," said Trautwein, who is 4-2 on the season. "I came back and ended up throwing strikes."
Trautwein struggled a bit with his control, walking three in the final four innings. But he kept the Pirates at bay, not allowing more than one baserunner on at a time, thanks to Ryan Lidge picking off another Palatine baserunner.
"We made too many mental errors to be successful today," Palatine coach Paul Belo said. "That's the bottom line. We allowed Lidge to be a bigger part of the game than we wanted him to be."
Barrington got an insurance run in the seventh when Pfeiffer led off with a double for his third hit of the game. He later scored on Scott Nelson's fielder's choice.
Barrington, which has won 12 of its last 13 games, could wrap up the West by Wednesday with wins over Fremd on Tuesday and Palatine on Wednesday.
"We are far from done," Wire said. "That is a good baseball team. We have a way to go yet. I told the guys we would be up against the wall and don't look at your record. We are 0-0 every day."
Rolling Meadows 6, Buffalo Grove 0: How good was pitcher Matt Dennis against Buffalo Grove on Monday?
Well, of the 21 outs he got in a complete-game shutout victory, 16 were strikeouts.
Dennis allowed only 3 hits and 2 walks while improving to 6-0 and lowering his ERA to 1.25 for the Mid-Suburban East-leading Mustangs (12-8-1,9-1-0).
Mickey Wazorick went 3-for-4 with a double and 3 RBI in an 11-hit attack, and Alex Niecikowski, Zach Schultz and Dennis also doubled while Mike Dolan had 2 hits.
St. Viator 13, St. Patrick 5: The Lions brought their bats on the road, pounding out 16 hits in an East Suburban Catholic Conference victory.
Joe Rosse and Bobby Calmeyn did much of the damage, both finishing 3-for-3. Rossi doubled and tripled, and Calmeyn doubled.
Greg Steiner earned the victory for St. Viator (13-10, 7-4).
Wheeling 9, Prospect 8: The visiting Wildcats led 8-0 after erupting for 6 runs in the second inning before the Knights crept closer inning by inning, finally tying it at 8-8 with a 2-run fifth.
But Wheeling got the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh and held on for an MSL East victory.
Brenden Spillane homered and had 3 RBI for Wheeling (8-12, 4-8) and Josh Kim had a double, and Angelo DeBlasio tossed a complete game to pick up the victory.
Sean Dela Cruz double, and Patrick Donohue had 2 RBI for Prospect (3-13, 2-9).
Fremd 9, Conant 6: Matt Isola homered, doubled scored 3 runs and finished 3-for-4 at the plate to help host Fremd past Conant in MSL West play.
Austin Jetel doubled twice and Sam Beutler once for the Vikings (14-7, 7-3) and Alec Dompke earned the pitching victory.
Hoffman Estates 4, Schaumburg 0: Jimmy Ward led the way for the host Hawks, tossing a complete-game 1-hit shutout for an an MSL West win. The only hit allowed by Ward was to Schaumburg's first batter; Ward struck out seven and walked one.
Hoffman Estates got all its runs in the sixth. After a leadoff walk to Zach Hommowun and a bunt by Justin Frame, Ethan Bloom (3-for-3) hit an RBI double to the wall in right-center. Zach Lewandowski followed with an RBI single, and Keegan Mugerditchian wrapped up the rally with a 2-run homer.
Hersey 7, Elk Grove 2: In game tied at 2-2 headed to the bottom of the sixth, the host Huskies produced a 5-run rally to hand the Grens an MSL East loss.
Ryan Rodgers doubled twice for Hersey (8-14, 5-5). Ryan Allain had 2 hits, Joe Silva had 2 RBI and David Milligan had an RBI double.
Tommy Pearson allowed no runs in a 4-inning relief stint to earn the win.
Michael Anciulis had 2 hits, including a 2-run single, and Nick Zak had 2 hits for Elk Grove (17-7, 8-3).