The South Elgin baseball team is coming out of the weekend feeling a whole new sense of optimism.
After knocking off Streamwood on Friday the Storm followed it up on Saturday with a doubleheader sweep of 3-1 and 12-2 in 6 innings against visiting Bartlett in Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division action. South Elgin entered the weekend having lost 5 of its last 6, but has now surged back above the .500 mark at 9-7 overall and 6-5 in the Valley Division.
Ryan Nutof and Ryan Weiss each pitched complete games to pick up the wins for South Elgin against the Hawks. Kyle Hays went 4-for-4 at the plate in the second game with a pair of RBI. He also had an RBI single in the opener.
"We wanted to mark this weekend as a whole new start to the season," South Elgin coach Jim Kating said. "We sat down and set new goals and objectives and obviously these wins are a nice start and just what we needed."
The Storm pounded out 13 hits in the second game. Nate Brummel had a 2-run single to cap a 5-run first inning. Hays added an RBI single in the rally and Zach Filippo brought home a run on a suicide squeeze.
"We have been working hard to improve at the plate," Kating said. "I think we were a lot more patient and swinging at our pitches instead of swinging at pitcher's pitches."
The Storm tacked on 4 runs in the fourth inning with the help of 2 Bartlett errors. Hays added an RBI single. He also singled and scored in the sixth inning when South Elgin closed out the game with 3 runs.
"I think as team we were just seeing the ball a lot better," Hays said. "It feels like we are finally hitting our stride."
On the mound in the second game Weiss scattered 6 hits and walked 4 while recording 5 strikeouts.
"Those runs in the first inning really helped me to relax," Weiss said. "My fastball is always my go-to pitch, but with the lead I was able to work on my change up and throw it with a lot more confidence."
In the opener Nutof surrendered his first earned run of the season in the first inning, but then settled down to blank the Hawks the rest of the way. He allowed just 3 hits, while striking out 8 and walking 3.
"Early on I was having a hard time finding anything to work," the Michigan-bound Nutof said. "I just tried to focus on a few standard points with my balance and release. The curveball finally came around, so I went to that more."
The Storm tied the game at 1-1 in the second inning on an RBI single from Justin Bryski (3-for-3). Nutof and Hays had RBI singles in the third to give the Storm the lead 3-1.
The Hawks, who had won 4 in a row, dropped to 8-10 and 8-8. Jake Barrutia had an RBI triple for the Hawks in the opener. Doug VanDyke, who struck out 9 in a complete-game effort, was the tough luck losing pitcher.
Barrutia and Jordan Flint each had RBI hits in the second game. Starter Alex Curtis (3⅓ IP, 9 R, 7 ER) took the loss.
"We got off to a nice start against Nutof," said Bartlett coach Chris Pemberton. "But then we kind of shut down from there and made way too many mistakes in the field."
The teams will conclude the three-game series at Bartlett on Monday.