While cold temperatures normally slow down offenses and make hitters fear the sting of the bat, Elgin's baseball team didn't seem to mind. The Maroons banged out 12 hits in a 12-3 rout over Streamwood at home Wednesday afternoon in Upstate Eight Conference River Division action.
After an extra-inning affair on Tuesday that saw the Maroons (5-6, 3-5) steal a win on the road against the Sabres, head coach David Foerster wanted his team to build on that momentum, but also told them to expect a fight.
"We wanted to build off (Tuesday) and have a good effort today, and the biggest thing I told them was to be ready for their best," Foerster said. "At the same time I told them that we have to do something about it. Make a difference in the game. Don't wait for it to happen, make it happen."
Apparently the message stuck. The Maroons found themselves down 1-0 before they even stepped to the plate thanks to a Chad Caminitti groundout that scored Eric Hamlin. That would be the only time the Maroons would trail as they scored 3 runs in the bottom half of the first inning.
Elgin did more of the same in the second inning, walking to get men on and taking advantage of Streamwood's defensive miscues.
The bases were loaded when Ryan Sitter surprised his team and took a 1-1 fastball from pitcher Collin Tatone (0-1) over the right field fence for a grand slam to put the Maroons up by 6.
"I've had a problem my entire life hitting. Taking too big of a swing and trying to kill everything," Sitter said. "Finally this year I've been able to hit the ball to right field. I've been working on it the past couple of years. I've gotten it down to just being short and quick to the ball, and that's what I did with (the pitch)."
Another surprise on offense has been the emergence of freshman Eric Whiteman, or "Rook" as his team calls him. Whiteman went 4-for-4 with a double and a pair each of stolen bases and RBI and earned high praise from teammate and coach alike.
"He's a freshman but he plays beyond his years and he's not afraid of the moment," Foerster said of Whiteman. "He's a varsity soccer player so he's used to playing in that varsity atmosphere."
Added Sitter "He looks like he can play. He had a day today and that's good to see from a freshman."
Elgin pitcher Clay White was able to take the mound with a sizable lead for much of the game and turned in 6 innings of 3-hit ball to earn his second win.
The only trouble for the junior came in the fourth, as the Sabres (4-10, 2-6) plated a pair by a Hamlin double, his second hit of the day.
According to Sabres' coach Ryan LaSota, Hamlin has been Streamwood's best offensive weapon, but he knows that they will need more than that to win games.
"(Hamlin) and Caminitti both have been having a great year, unfortunately we need some other guys to feed off what they're doing," LaSota said. "It's those two then kind of a drop off, but they're having great years."
Tatone was taken out after 4 innings and giving up 11 runs, only 2 of which were earned thanks to 6 errors by Streamwood. In relief Jonah Seckel pitched well, giving up 3 hits and 1 run with 2 strikeouts in 2 innings. Zach Pisarek had the only other Sabre hit as they were shut down after the fourth, something LaSota did not think would happen.
"We haven't had too many (games like that). I was hoping we would have bounced back a little bit better than we did today," LaSota said. "You just gotta turn the page and get ready for them tomorrow."