Less than 24 hours after being held to 3 base hits — 2 of them of the infield variety — in a 3-0 loss to St. Charles North, Batavia’s baseball team feasted on North Stars pitching Saturday.
Needing a sweep to remain tied for first place in the loss column with Upstate Eight Conference River Division co-leader St. Charles East, the Bulldogs (22-6, 16-6) accomplished the feat, taking both games from host St. Charles North (13-15, 9-12).
Led by Laren Eustace (4-for-7, double, triple, 2 RBI) and Micah Coffey (5-for-8, 2 doubles, 4 RBI), the Bulldogs finished the day with 26 runs and 29 hits on their way to a pair of victories.
Batavia scored 11 runs over the final 3 frames during its 16-4 win in Game 1, and jumped out to a 7-0 lead through 3 innings in Game 2 before holding on for a 10-6 in Game 2.
“Whenever we lose, we respond really well,” said Eustace. “We rarely lose two games in a row. It’s a good change of pace. Yesterday, we didn’t get the leadoff guy on base a lot. Today, we had the leadoff guy on pretty much every inning.”
Eustace was a constant thorn in the North Stars’ side, as he reached base 7 of 10 times, scored 5 runs, stole 3 bases, and walked 3 times.
“When Laren’s on base, we usually score,” said Bulldogs assistant coach Alex Beckmann, who filled in for head coach Matt Holm, who was attending his son’s graduation from Iowa State. “The big key we’ve been talking about with Laren is getting on base — finding a way. He was patient today. He got a few hits, he got a few walks, and when he’s on base it changes the game a lot for us.”
In the opener, Eustace also showed that he has got some pop in his bat as he doubled high off the fence in right-center to lead off the third inning. He stole third and came across on a passed ball to make it 3-0.
Coffey, who also reached base 7 of 10 times from the No. 3 hole, scored 5 runs, including a steal of home during the 3-run third.
Billy Zwick, Robbie Bowman, and Aaron Hurd drove in 2 runs each during Game 1 in support of winning pitcher Austin Shanahan’s 4-hit complete game.
“We pressed the issue offensively and put pressure on them,” said Beckmann.
Tim Misner had a 2-run double, while Nick Drawant added an RBI double for the North Stars, as senior lefty Ankur Shah suffered the loss.
Eustace led off the nightcap with a walk, stole second, and scored the game’s first run on Coffey’s opposite-field double. Bowman added a run-scoring double down the right-field line during the Bulldogs’ 3-run first off North Stars’ starter Sawyer Chambers.
Andrew Siegler, who finished 2-for-3 with 3 RBI in Game 2, had an RBI single and Eustace added a 2-run triple to highlight Batavia’s 4-run third.
St. Charles North finally got to Batavia starter Emilio Tenuta with 3 fourth-inning runs without the benefit of a base hit thanks to 4 walks and a hit batsman.
The North Stars closed to within 7-5 with a pair of fifth-inning runs. Cory Wright led off with a single and Tenuta plunked Ryan Thomas with a pitch to put runners on first and second.
Jack Dennis greeted reliever Luke Horton with a single to load the bases before Drawant coaxed a run-producing walk.
After a passed ball allowed the second run of the inning to score, Horton worked out of the jam with help from shortstop Zwick’s diving stop of a grounder off the bat of Joe Kuczek with a drawn-in infield.
However, the North Stars were unable to get any closer as their pitchers combined for 14 walks, 2 hit batsmen and several wild pitches.
“We just gave up too many free bases,” said North Stars coach Todd Genke. “Passed balls, wild pitches — the little things we walk about all the time.
“We scored enough runs to win but we didn’t compete on the mound. It’s kind of hard to fathom. We had a lot of momentum coming in with our big win yesterday. I was really expecting us to come in and play well today.”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.