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updated: 5/7/2014 9:07 PM

This time, Palatine sees the light

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By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent

Lightning didn't strike again in Palatine.

But this time it was the Pirates who shined, beating Hoffman Estates 3-1.

A month ago Palatine had two lightning delays in a game with St.Viator. In that game, Palatine lost all its momentum and also lost the game.

On Wednesday, the lightning detector again went off. But when play resumed, it was Palatine picking things up after the break.

"We are a different team than that team," said Palatine coach Paul Belo, whose team improved to 17-11 and 6-5 in the MSL West. "The biggest thing is that there is a sense of calm with this team. They are very confident kids and we are playing very good baseball."

There was no score when the detector went off after the top of the fourth. After a 35-minute delay, Palatine was able to find its offense while Pirates pitcher Nolan Gavin was able to keep the Hawks grounded.

Gavin allowed 4 hits and struck out four. The only run he allowed was unearned when Palatine made 4 errors in the sixth inning. But the Pirates also helped Gavin out with a pair of key defensive plays.

"My arm felt pretty good, even after the delay," Gavin said. "I trust my defensive no matter what. I am just going to keep throwing, and I am going to let them hit it."

Hoffman Estates tried to sneak in a run in the top of the fourth. With runners on the corners and two outs, Keegan Mugerditchian walked off first base, hoping to draw Palatine's attention so Ethan Bloom could score from third. But Palatine first baseman Michael Stacey played it perfectly, holding the ball until Bloom broke for the plate. Stacey then made a perfect throw to catcher Brad Bauer for the out.

That play happened just moments before the detector went off.

Palatine came back after the delay to score the game's first run. With two outs, Matt Lamm walked. He then scored when Nick Orlando tripled to left.

"We knew after last time how to handle the break," Orlando said. "I was looking for a pitch to drive and I took a good swing at it."

Palatine added a pair of runs in the fifth. Matt Saltess reached on an error and advanced to second on a wild pitch. He came home on Zach Serna's single, and Serna later scored on Bauer's single to make it 3-0.

Hoffman Estates (7-13-1, 3-8) put together a rally in the sixth thanks to 4 Palatine errors. Trevor Pye reached on an error and scored when Bloom got on base via an error. The Hawks had the tying runners on second and third with two out when Serna, who was playing third, made up for all his team's miscues with a terrific one-handed play to end the inning.

Hoffman Estates threatened again in the seventh with runners on second and third, but this time with just one out.

Zakary Lewandowski led off with a single, and CJ Conway followed with his third hit of the game. Pinch hitter Sajan Sharma bunted the pair over, but Gavin struck out the next hitter and got the last out on a grounder to second.

"We are doing some good things," Belo said. "And we clutched up when we needed it.

"Gavin has pitched like this all year. And he has down that for two years for us. He is pretty consistent and pounds the zone well."

Hoffman Estates coach Todd Meador said that his team had its chances.

"I think they were trying to give us some help," Meadow said. "We had second and third there, and their third baseman made a great play. Then we had second and third with out and their pitcher did a great job of keeping us from scoring."

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