Mitch Pfeiffer roams center field for Barrington like shark. And when his prey, in the form of a baseball, sails by, Pfeiffer churns up that outfield grass in pursuit of the kill.
Pfeiffer demonstrated his feeding frenzy in the first inning of the Broncos game against Burlington Central.
With runners on first and second with one out, the Rockets' Michael Lee belted the ball to deep center. Without hesitation, Pfeiffer raced nearly 75 feet to make a superb over-the-head catch to rob Lee and the Rockets.
That play, along with Pfeiffer's 3 hits, helped lead host Barrington past Burlington Central 7-4 Saturday.
"It was a well-hit ball and it started right at me," said Pfeiffer, who had a double, stole a base, scored a run and drove in another for the Broncos.
"The wind took it over my head the other way. I flipped my hips around and lost track of it for a second, but I was able to snag it."
Barrington coach Pat Wire is not surprised by the defensive play of his junior standout.
"It was really good to see him break out like that," Wire said. "He gave us a huge lift when he caught that ball. That is the kind of player he has been for us."
Although the Broncos (10-4) didn't immediately respond offensively, it was Pfeiffer who put them in the lead for good in the second inning. His single scored Jack Lenz, who came in to run for Brendan Battle. Battle led off the inning with a single. Joey Sciaccotta also scored on the play, coming around from first base to tally after an error on the play.
Barrington added a run in the third, when Jake Coon scored on Battle's sacrifice fly to put the Broncos up 3-0 after 3 innings.
Burlington Central (6-3) was able to climb back into the game in the fourth, scoring 2 runs without a hit.
Barrington pitcher Brad Powell, who sat out most of last season with an injury, tired in his first start. He walked 4 batters with Jake Johnson driving in the Rockets' first run.
Cole Weber, who came on in relief, uncorked a wild pitch, scoring Schuver. But on the same play, Weber was able to tag out Danny Gerke, who tried to score from second after an overthrow.
Barrington got those runs back in their half of the fourth.
Shane Yorton had as RBI single, scoring Luke Johnson, who'd led off with a single. Yorton then scored on a double by Coon.
"I am seeing the ball much better than last season," Coon said. "I have been having pretty good success and as a team were are out-hitting the teams we play."
Burlington Central closed to 5-3 in the 6th when Gerke's single scored Andrew Lauber, who was running for Schuver, who had doubled earlier.
Barrington, which banged out 11 hits, picked up a couple of insurance runs in its half of the sixth to make the score 7-3.
Pfeiffer, who singled, stole second and went to third on a fielder's choice, scored on a sacrifice fly by Jake Petersen. Nathan Quade, who was running for Petersen after he reached on a dropped flyball, then scored on a double by Daniel Kubiuk.
Those extra runs came in handy for Barrington, especially when Burlington loaded the bases with nobody out.
Luke Johnson came on for the Broncos with runners on first and second. He walked a batter, got a strikeout and then surrendered a single to Lee, scoring Jacob Schutta. But Johnson was able to pick up the save, retiring the next two batters.
"I am happy I am to contribute," said Johnson, who also had 2 hits. "I was pleased with the way I threw -- except for the walk. That shouldn't happen."
Burlington Central coach Kyle Nelson was pleased at the way his team battled back.
"We showed some fight there today," Nelson said. "I thought they knew it was on the verge of getting away from us. We wanted to make sure we got the tying run at the plate, and we actually had it at first base."
Wire said he was happy the way his team bounced back from a tough loss earlier this week to Cary Grove, and he feels like his group is ready to begin MSL play.
"We are still reeling a bit from that game," Wire said. "This has been us. We have been out-hitting people. We know that our conference is tough and we are looking forward to getting started there."