With each passing game, Batavia's baseball team is inching closer toward capturing the Upstate Eight Conference River Division championship.
The Bulldogs (23-3-1, 18-2-1) took another major step on their title pursuit with Saturday's doubleheader sweep of visiting St. Charles North (17-10, 12-9).
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Trailing 4-0 after 3 innings and 5-2 after 4 ½ innings in Game 1, Batavia staged a 6-run rally in the fifth to grab an 8-5 lead before sealing its eventual 12-5 victory with a 4-run sixth.
Senior southpaw Jacob Piechota (6-1) and junior right-hander Nick Rogalski combined on a 4-hit shutout as the Bulldogs took the nightcap 6-0.
St. Charles North made things tough on the Bulldogs early in the opener with a 4-run third, featuring RBI singles from Anthony Lambert and Joe Kuczek and an infield single by Nick Drawant that wound up driving in a pair of runs.
Batavia sliced its deficit in half in the fourth as Jeremy Schoessling led off with a double and scored on Piechota's sacrifice fly while Micah Coffey singled and came across on Dino Simoncelli's RBI single.
"Coach (Matt Holm) just told us our mascot isn't the Bulldog -- it's the Battlin' Bulldog," said Coffey. "He wanted to see some fight out of us and we started to chip away."
After the North Stars extended their lead to 5-2 with a fifth-inning run, the roof caved in on the visitors during a 6-run bottom half of the frame.
Mitch Boyer led off with a double to short right before Laren Eustace's RBI single narrowed the gap to 5-3. The Bulldogs capitalized on back-to-back fielding errors to tie the game at 5-5 before a throwing error allowed the home team to take a 7-5 lead.
"Somebody has got to step up and make a play there," said North Stars coach Todd Genke, whose team committed 6 errors in the opener. "The seniors we do have on this team have got to stem the tide and make a play in the infield. We couldn't get that elusive out."
Batavia's first 4 batters -- Eustace, Schoessling, Coffey and Piechota -- combined to go 7-for-14 with 6 RBI and 10 runs scored in Game 1. Meanwhile, Boyer tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings to pick up the win in relief of starter Colby Green.
Frankie Farry, who struck out the side in the third, suffered the tough-luck loss for the North Stars (5 of the 12 runs allowed were earned).
"It's a shame because Frankie threw the ball very well -- he's been doing it all year," said Genke. "He deserved a better fate today. You obviously can't give a team like Batavia extra outs and we gave them way too many."
In Game 2, Batavia jumped on top with a 2-run first. Eustace led off with a walk, advanced to third on Schoessling's hit-and-run single and scored on Coffey's groundout. Piechota delivered a sacrifice fly to knock in Schoessling with the Bulldogs' second run.
After the Bulldogs added an unearned run in the second, Coffey launched a solo home run to right to make it 4-0.
Batavia scored its fifth run on a wild pitch in the fifth before Schoessling's sixth-inning sacrifice fly closed out the scoring.
"In the second game, I think they were kind of deflated," Holm said of the North Stars.
Piechota, who allowed a pair of singles while walking 5, received some extra support from his battery mate.
Simoncelli gunned down 3 runners trying to steal second with pinpoint accurate throws.
"It's easier when we have pitchers that are good at holding runners on and are quick to the plate," said Simoncelli, who missed the second half of his junior season with a broken thumb.
"It's a blast this year," he added. "It's just fun to come out here and play with some of my best friends."
Heading into the final week of the regular season, Batavia needs just 2 more wins to clinch the UEC River title.
"Nineteen (wins) is at least a tie," said Holm, whose team has won 14 consecutive games. "We'd like to get two more and have it by ourselves."