With the wind blowing straight in from left field at Wing Park in Elgin, St. Edward's baseball team knew that it would have to rely on small ball, and some lucky bounces, in order to secure victory Tuesday afternoon.
Luckily for the Green Wave the ball finally bounced their way as they went on to win 4-3 in Suburban Christian Conference action against Chicago Christian.
Tied at 3-3 going into the sixth inning, Alex Lara stepped to the plate and delivered a one-out single, after which he used an errant pickoff attempt and a groundout from Gino Domel to get 90 feet away with two down.
Then, in the words of head coach Tim Dovichi, the Green Wave (8-14-1, 7-7) finally "caught a break" as Lara came in to score what would be the eventual game winner on a wild pitch.
"All season we haven't gotten a break, so this was kind of a break for us. We've struggled with having things not go our way," Dovichi said. "That basehit from Lara, we couldn't have asked for a better time. The pickoff at first the ball skips away and then the ball skips away at home as well. Everything played out the way that went our way."
Despite outhitting the Knights 8-2, St. Edward found itself down by 3 after the third and was struggling both at the plate and on the mound.
Knights' pitcher Dan Vos was vulnerable early, allowing 3 hits in the first inning but the Green Wave could not find their way across the plate, another problem according to Dovichi that has reared its head many times this year.
"All season we've struggled with (getting runners in), I mean (in the fifth) we had bases loaded and two outs and couldn't find that two-out hit," Dovichi said. "That's the story of our season. We're just looking for that one key hit. We're getting guys on but we're just leaving them there."
It was it in that fifth inning that the Green Wave tied the game, sending eight men to the plate, but could not push any more runs across.
After a double play erased a leadoff single from Lara, Michael Castoro used an error to keep the inning alive, allowing Jake Lafrenz to take a 1-2 offering from Vos to the wall and score Castoro, knocking Vos out of the game in the process.
New pitcher Adam Schoenle would allow a hit and walk two, including Zach West as he scored Lafrenz to tie the game, without recording an out, making way for Josh Novak who would take the loss in the next inning.
While Lafrenz provided the only extra-base hit for the Green Wave, it was the combination of he and teammate Tighe Koehring, who reached base safely three times, that provided the spark much as they have done all year, earning high praise from their coach.
"You won't find two lefties better than those two in the area," Dovichi said. "Those are two top hitters in the area, and it shows when you get good swings on the ball good things happen."
Starting for the Green Wave was Scotty Palmer, who was effectively wild by throwing 5 innings and walking 7, but only allowing 2 hits and the 3 runs, just 1 of them earned. Patrick Costello would pitch the final two innings and was perfect on his way to his first win of the year.