Jake Esp finally won the battle of Jakes.
Marmion's Esp breezed through the bottom of the seventh inning after St. Edward starter Jake Lafrenz walked in 2 runs in the top half as the Cadets downed the Green Wave 3-1 in Suburban Christian Conference baseball action at Wing Park in Elgin Thursday.
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The pitchers, who play on the same summer travel team, were in total command through six innings before Lafrenz started to run out of gas.
With the bases loaded, two outs, and a full count, Brady Roberts took a pitch just off the plate for ball 4, forcing in the winning run. Alex Troop followed with another walk to give the Cadets an insurance run.
"I give Brady all the credit in the world," said Marmion coach Dave Rakow. "He had nerves of steel to take that pitch."
Roberts didn't see it that way, though.
"It was close, but it was far enough inside that I knew it was a ball right away," he said.
Esp retired the side 1-2-3 in the seventh, getting the last two outs on strikeouts. He and Lafrenz know each other pretty well.
"I've known him for awhile," said Esp of his opponent on the mound. "He's a good kid. I wanted to beat him, though."
St. Edward coach Tim Dovichi lamented not getting the call on the close pitch to Roberts.
"We played a lot better, though," he said. "We played solid defense today, but we needed that one key hit."
St. Edward got its only run when leadoff hitter Mike Castoro reached on an error. Lafrenz laid down a bunt and wound up beating it out. Castoro came around to score on a pair of fielder's-choice grounders.
Marmion tied it in the third when Brian Simon singled in Josh Meyers.
Neither team threatened again until the seventh, when Corey Friel and Tyler Eberth singled with no outs. Eberth dropped a 9-iron shot into short right field. Two outs later, Simon walked to load the bases, setting the stage for Roberts.