Critical call goes Larkin's way vs. St. Charles N.
Not surprisingly, each coach had a different opinion on critical plays in the top of the seventh inning Tuesday.
An appeal by Larkin coach Matt Esterino resulted in the home plate umpire calling a St. Charles North runner out after ruling the runner did not touch third base on what would have been a game-tying double.
Royals pitcher Jack McCracken got the next batter to groundout to end the game, giving Larkin a 2-1 Upstate Eight River Division victory in Elgin.
"He did (miss the base). I don't do that unless I thought he did," Esterino said. "I thought our guy stepped on second before. So all things are equal."
The North Stars (12-13, 8-10) were in position to tie the game after the base umpire ruled the Larkin shortstop was not on second base on a fielder's choice with one out in the seventh. Esterino argued the call. That put runners on first and second. Another fielder's choice on a ball hit by Tim Misner loaded the bases. Pinch-hitter Joe Kuczek hit a shot down the left-field line to drive in one run. The runner from second scored easily to tie the game before being ruled out.
"To me, it was a makeup call," North coach Todd Genke said. "That's a really hard thing to be able to see. I'm sorry, I just don't think you can make that call. It is what it is. We have to step on the bases. They're big and white for a reason."
Larkin (8-15, 5-14) scored an unearned run in the third as Brayden Royse scored on a groundball by Jon Lenz that was booted by the North Stars' shortstop. The Royals added another run in the fourth. Rob Bond's groundout to third brought in Dan Lenz for a 2-0 lead.
McCracken made the lead hold up. The junior right-hander (4-4) allowed 3 hits, walked 1 and struck out 3. He induced 13 groundouts.
"I was locating my fastball real well," McCracken said. "The two-seamer was cutting back really hard on the lefties and I was just working off that all game long."
Sawyer Chambers (1-4) was the hard-luck loser. The senior also allowed only 3 hits and 1 earned run. He walked 2 and struck out 8.
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