Batavia was supposed to play Sycamore Monday morning to open what promises to be a banner spring for the school's very experienced and equally talented baseball team.
Instead, the Bulldogs played Kaneland in what was their second game of the year.
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Evan Acosta dominated in his four innings on the mound and Batavia scratched out a couple runs, just enough for a 2-1 win over Kaneland in a game played on the home field of Wheaton College in Carol Stream.
Bulldogs coach Matt Holm found out last week that Sycamore couldn't play at the 10 a.m. time he had secured the field. He went to his mass email list of 480 coaches and found an opponent in Kaneland.
From that same list Holm also learned Benet was looking for a game Sunday night, and Holm quickly accepted. The Bulldogs defeated the Redwings 6-1, and they return to the Wheaton College turf field to play Willowbrook on Tuesday and Naperville North on Friday.
"I don't know how much of a sleeper team we are," Acosta said. "I think everyone knows we have a lot of good players coming back, we have a lot of good players coming up."
Acosta is one of the good ones coming up, a junior who was "lights out" this summer according to Holm. He threw his first varsity innings Monday.
"He's been recruited and people are after him," Holm said. "I know he's good. But last year with the staff we had we didn't have to bring him up. I wanted him to still hit and play first base."
Acosta fell behind 2-0 to the first batter, then quickly settled down to strike out the side in the first. He didn't let up much from there.
Tyler Carlson singled to lead off the second and walked in the fourth, Curtis Thorson singled in the fourth and that was it.
"(Going 2-0) got me a little nervous and the rest of the game I settled down and it was just fun," Acosta said. "My fastball was working good, the third inning my curve ball was back where I wanted it to be. It was a good game."
The left-handed Acosta followed Jacob Piechota's gem in the rare Sunday night win with 9 strikeouts in his four innings of work, allowing just 2 hits and 1 walk and no runs.
"He was pounding the zone," Holm said. "His pitch count was up because nobody was touching it. We were very pleased."
Nick Bleidorn pitched the next two innings. Kaneland plated its only run in the sixth with some aggressive base running. Joe Panico singled to lead off and Thorson followed by dropping a hit into shallow right field. Panico alertly continued to an uncovered third on the play, and as the throw went to third Thorson took the extra base to slide safely into second. Panico then got up and came in to score while the throw went to second.
"Taking advantage of uncovered bases," Holm said.
An error put runners at first and third with nobody out, but Bleidorn managed to hold the 2-1 lead with a strikeout, a comebacker and a rare 2-4-5-2 putout at the plate on another unusual play.
"That may have been one of the most dysfunctional games I've ever been part of," Kaneland coach Brian Aversa said. "I'm happy the score stayed 2-1 but I'm not happy with some of the things we did. We have a lot to improve on."
Mitch Boyer struck out the side in the seventh for the save.
Kaneland (0-1) threw six different pitchers one inning each -- Nick Stahl, Colton Fellows, Nick Stratman, Nick Henne, Nate Hopkins and Anthony Holubecki.
"We were just getting guys out there. It was more of a spring training type of attitude for us," said Aversa, whose team leaves Wednesday to play games Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Cincinnati.
"We're looking to get guys ready for this week and going down to Cincinnati. We wanted to get guys some experience with batters in front of them and see what our defense can do behind them. We have some programs down there, some powerhouses, we'll see how we stack up against some Ohio competition."
Batavia scored single runs in the third and fifth. Sean Townsend was hit by a pitch in the third, took second on Jeremy Schoessling's single and third on Steven Busby's sacrifice bunt before scoring on Laren Eustace's soft line single to center.
Kyle Nieniec ripped a double to start Batavia's fifth and scored on Busby's sacrifice fly.
"The way we hit yesterday against good pitching, I knew he (Aversa) was going to throw a pitcher an inning, I thought we were going to have a hit parade," Holm said. "I don't know how many games we've played against these guys that's been 2-1. Seems like every game that means something is 2-1 with these guys."