St. Charles East used an extra day — and then some extra innings — to earn its share of the Upstate Eight Conference River Division championship Friday.
Picking up a suspended game in the fifth inning tied 0-0 at St. Charles North, the Saints scored twice in the top of the 10th on just one hit for a 3-1 victory.
The win leaves St. Charles East (22-10, 19-6) tied with Batavia (25-9, 19-6) for the conference title, the first of several goals the Saints hope to achieve.
“That was our goal in the beginning of the year and it’s awesome to accomplish that goal and move forward to our other goals now,” Saints senior Joe Hoscheit said.
Saints coach Len Asquini called on Hoscheit to pitch, and he quickly found himself in trouble. Starting with a 2-2 count on Tim Misner which is where the game left off at, Hoscheit walked both Misner and Frankie Farry before escaping the jam with a called third strike.
That was the first of Hoscheit’s 9 strikeouts in his five innings of work, which he credited to his curve ball.
“It was crazy. I didn’t start the way I wanted to walking two guys but we fought back,” Hoscheit said. “We were just so ready for this game.”
Hoscheit improved to 2-0. Troy Dykhuis got the final out for his second save but not before the North Stars made the Saints sweat.
Ryan Thomas and Jack Dennis drew back-to-back two-out walks to load the bases. Dykhuis got the final out on St. Charles North’s fourth strikeout looking in the six innings.
“He (Hoscheit) was super out there,” Asquini said. “Really battled. Gets tough when he needs to.”
St. Charles North (15-17, 11-14) had the Saints on the ropes, putting the potential winning run in scoring position in the fifth, seventh and eighth innings but never getting the clutch two-out hit.
“I liked the way our guys handled it (the pressure),” Asquini said. “That’s the playoff baseball stuff you talk about. Everything matters.
“When you look at that first goal that was conference championship. Now we’re looking at a deep run in the playoffs. We’ll see what we can do. This was a good springboard. It was pretty tense out there.”
The Saints took a 1-0 lead in the seventh when Anthony Sciarrino led off with a single and scored two batters later when St. Charles North dropped a fly ball to left field.
Down to their final strike in the last of the seventh, Farry lined a single over shortstop Nicholas Erickson’s outstretched glove to plate Cory Wright with the tying run. Wright had singled to start the rally.
“Give them credit because they scored that run,” Hoscheit said. “It was just good to see our team come back after that. Like coach said, we are playoff ready and this was a great example of it.”
The game stayed tied 1-1 until the top of the 10th. Jack Dellostritto was hit by a pitch. He was at third base with two outs when the North Stars walked Hoscheit intentionally.
A passed ball plated Dellostritto with the go-ahead run, and Brian Sobieski clubbed a run-scoring double to deep left center for a 3-1 lead.
“I’m really proud of the effort,” North Stars coach Todd Genke said. “The kids left it all on the field. It just has been the story of the season. The dropped fly ball, technically in my mind we win this game 1-0. We had a passed ball. They (St. Charles East) really didn’t do much offensively to get it. It’s just been one play here or there. It’s been one thing each game that prevents us from getting over the top.”
Genke praised Farry’s effort. The junior had not pitched much recently but held the Saints to 2 hits in 5 innings.
“I give him a ton of credit for pitching,” Genke said. “ Took the ball and really did an awesome job and then to get that big hit was huge.
“I still think we’re a dangerous team. I don’t think there’s a lot of people that want to play us. We’re gong to enter the playoffs with confidence. We’re going to go down fighting, if we go down.”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.