The Elgin baseball team struck first via the home run against Bartlett ace Doug VanDyke Wednesday, but the host Hawks struck far more often in an 11-3 Upstate Eight crossover win.
The Maroons jumped to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Junior Clay White turned on a high VanDyke fastball for a solo home run, and senior Kiko Mari followed Ryan Sitter's walk by hammering a changeup for a 2-run blast.
Both homers were aided by a persistent wind blowing out toward left field, but VanDyke, committed to pitch next year at Dubuque, didn't use it as an excuse.
"I just left the ball up," he said. "If you leave the ball up in any league, they're going to hit it."
Those were the last mistakes the 6-foot-1, 185-pound right-hander made in his 5 innings. VanDyke (2-1) went on to strike out 10 Elgin hitters and issue only 1 walk, and the Hawks responded offensively with 8 two-out runs over the next three innings.
"We knew with the wind the way it was there was going to be a lot of offense," said Bartlett coach Chris Pemberton, whose team collected 14 hits, 5 for extra bases. "We had to make sure we kept after it all the way through. I think our guys knew they had some quality out there in Doug and they stuck with it."
Bartlett (3-4, 2-1) scored 5 runs in the second inning against veteran Elgin starting pitcher Kiko Mari (0-2). With two outs, senior Mike Wick singled home a run. Junior Cory Krolikowski then smacked a high, 2-2- fastball back up the middle for a game-tying, 2-run single, scoring Myles Zilinsky and Wick.
"My approach was just hit a ground ball up the middle and try to get it past the infield, and it happened," Krolikowski said.
Jake Barrutia stepped up next and sent a high flyball into the gusting wind. The ball drifted over the Elgin center fielder's head to the outfield wall for a go-ahead, RBI triple. Barrutia made it 5-3 on the same play when the overthrown relay to third base came to rest in the Bartlett dugout, allowing him to score.
"It's always bad if you get down early to not answer back for awhile, but we did a good job of staying focused," said Barrutia, who went 3-for-4 with 2 RBI. "We were able to get 5 back, and Doug was able to calm down and shut them down."
Bartlett continued to tack on runs. Zilinsky's two-out, run-scoring double in the third inning made it 6-0, and Michael Pfaender doubled home 2 unearned runs with two outs in the fourth to make it 8-0. Wick and Barrutia drove in runs in the fifth inning, and pinch hitter Robbie Euliano's solo shot in the sixth capped the scoring.
The loss was the fourth straight for Elgin (2-4, 0-4). Coach David Foerster expected defense to be a team strength, but 5 errors led to 3 unearned runs against Bartlett.
"Teams have scored 16 more runs than us and we've given up 16 unearned runs," Foerster said. "The correlation is pretty clear. We're giving up too many extra runs and that's what's going to lose games. We have to correct that quickly."
Ryan Sitter and Jack Koeckritz had 2 hits apiece for Elgin.