Baseball is a game where if you can sometimes forget about what happened the day before the better off you will be.
After committing 4 errors in a disappointing 3-2 loss to South Elgin on Thursday, St. Charles North (9-2, 4-1) bounced back with improved defense and capitalized on a crucial sixth-inning throwing error during Friday's 3-2 Upstate Eight Conference crossover triumph over Bartlett (4-5, 3-2) Friday in St. Charles.
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"We grinded one out there but a win's a win and we'll take it," said North Stars coach Todd Genke.
Trailing 2-1 with 2 out and nobody on in the bottom of the sixth, the North Stars relied on a little bit of good fortune and a lot of hustle during their 2-run rally.
After Riley Coomes walked, sophomore John Legare lofted what appeared to be a routine fly ball to right field.
However, right fielders have to look directly into the sun during the late innings on the North Stars' field.
The ball dropped in front of the Hawks' outfielder, allowing courtesy runner Tim Hausl to take third while a hustling Legare barely beat the throw in at second base.
"We pride ourselves on that," Genke said of hustle plays. "John Legare hustling to get to second in position to score was a huge play."
Freshman Zach Mettetal followed with a slow roller to the left side that was misplayed into a throwing error at first base, allowing both Hausl and Legare to cross the plate with the tying and go-ahead runs.
"Johnny hustling to get to second -- that was huge," said junior Cory Wright. "It shows the heart and character of these guys. Every one of them fights to the end."
Wright (2-0) was the chief beneficiary as the left-hander fired a complete game, allowing 8 hits -- 4 of them infield singles -- with 2 walks and 5 strikeouts.
"He's the ultimate competitor," Genke said of Wright. "He just wills us to win."
Wright worked out of several mini-jams, often relying on his deceptive pickoff move to first base.
"He's so dynamic on the mound with his ability to hold runners," said Genke. "He picked off another three guys today (in the first 4 innings) -- it's amazing. That shuts down the running game and forces teams to go station to station."
St. Charles North grabbed a 1-0 lead on Coomes' second-inning sacrifice fly.
"I thought the difference in the game early was the play their left fielder (Jake Barrutia) made when we had the bases loaded," said Genke. "He made a heck of a catch out there and held us to one run."
Bartlett answered with a 2-run fourth, highlighted by RBI doubles from Trevor Svetic and Mike Pfaender, before the North Stars' late-inning comeback against Hawks sophomore pitcher Tripp Paris (0-2).
"For Tripp, a sophomore in his second varsity start, to come out and be as impressive as he was -- he did all he could for us," said Bartlett coach Chris Pemberton. "It may not show on the scoreboard but we played a quality game."
Mike Wick, Svetic and Pfaender each had 2 hits for the Hawks.
"It's still April and we're still figuring some things out," said Pemberton. "We're going to learn from this and by May hopefully the score goes in our favor next time."