Forgive the 9 errors in this North Suburban Conference Lake Division baseball battle.
After all, the temperatures dipped into the high 30s in Lincolnshire.
After a masterful pitching duel on Tuesday in Gurnee, the two-game series between Warren and Stevenson continued on Wednesday afternoon and it looked for a few innings that Warren might complete a sweep.
Nursing a 4-3 lead entering the home half of the sixth, the Blue Devils couldn't complete the deal. The big hit in the frame came from Stevenson third baseman Sean Wilson. He rifled a shot past third base with the sacks loaded that brought in 2 runs and paved the way to 6-4 win.
"I was looking to run the bases,'' the senior said. "I was hoping to float one somewhere and hit it right down the third base line."
The Patriots (5-7) have dodged key injuries, and this late win was important. On a difficult night for the pitchers, left-hander Aaron Saper, struck out four in his 2 innings of relief. He was rewarded for his effort with a victory.
"Saper did a great job in relief,'' said Stevenson coach Paul Mazzuca. "Aaron shut them down."
In the early going, it looked like Warren (12-5-1) might wrack up close to 20 hits. Clearly, the Pats had no answers for Warren's third-place hitter. Ben Dinter had the game's lone double and added a pair of singles.
"I came into this game with a different mind-set,'' Dinter said. "I was more patient."
Dinter noted on his two-bagger, he caught the ball at the end of the bat. And it kept on carrying and carrying into the right-center field alley.
"It just kept on going,'' he said.
Warren had 2 hits in each of the first four innings. Even the last two hitters in the Warren lineup, pitcher Wes Gordon and ninth-place hitter Brad Zahn, combined to go 4-for-4 after the fourth inning.
Some questionable baserunning conspired against the Devils in the fourth. Warren had 2 hits and a walk and did not score.
"We talk about finishing games,'' said Warren coach Clint Smothers. "Today we had trouble finishing innings. It was a sloppy game, and there were errors. We were six outs away from winning. We just didn't close out the game."
Losing pitcher Gordon pitched gamely into the sixth inning. He was hurt by Warren's 5 errors. Dinter scored three times in the defeat. Still, he has no complaints about his Blue Devils.
"Everyone gets along on this team,'' Dinter said. "We all really want to win."
Stevenson's winning rally began with a leadoff single from shortstop Willie Bourbon. Jack Joseph coaxed a walk from Gordon. The call to the bullpen went to Jay Nickell. He induced a potential double play ball the ball got stuck in the fielder's glove, and all hands were safe. Wilson's hit gave the Pats the lead for good. Michael Banakis brought in the final tally with a sacrifice fly.
Warren threatened in the visitor's seventh. And the Devils got two runners on without benefit of a hit. Saper even struck out a Warren hitter only to have him reach on a passed ball. But Saper ended the contest with another strikeout.