Batavia's boys are back, and they had pitcher Ben Lynam's back in an 8-1 win at Larkin on Thursday.
Not that Lynam needed much help.
The junior left-hander opened the bottom of the first inning in shaky fashion by allowing singles to Zach Edgar and Dan Lenz and issuing a walk to Jon Lenz to load the bases with no outs.
"My second baseman called time and reassured me that they've got my back," Lynam said. "It really gave me confidence in my defense and took things off my mind."
He then proceeded to strike out Larkin's 4-5-6 hitters on 14 pitches.
It took 14 more pitches to strike out the side in order the second inning. And 14 more to strike out the side in order in the third, giving Batavia's hard-throwing hurler 9 straight punchouts.
"Honestly, I wasn't really thinking about that," said Lynam (1-2). "I was focusing on out of the inning, out of the inning."
He would go on to strike out 15 Royals and issue a lone walk. Lynam allowed 1 earned run on 5 hits in a 90-pitch, 6-inning gem. Batavia 2009 graduate Adam Carter holds the program record with 19 strikeouts in a game, according to coach Matt Holm.
Batavia junior reliever Michael Fossali walked the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh but induced a flyball to left field to end the Upstate Eight River contest. He also notched 1 strikeout, meaning Larkin (3-8, 1-5) failed to put the ball in play 16 times.
"I think that first inning was key," Larkin coach Matt Esterino said. "(Lynam) seemed like he obviously settled in. I think that's the case with a lot of really good pitchers. If you get to them early, that's your shot. After that first inning we didn't make offensive adjustments."
Batavia (4-7, 3-3) scored 8 runs on 13 hits against Larkin starting pitcher Tanner Gardon and reliever David Bello. Of those 13 hits, 6 were for extra bases.
The beauty of it from Batavia's standpoint is that 6 of its hits, including 3 doubles and a triple, were smacked by five position players who returned from injury in time for the series opener on Tuesday.
Due to various nagging injuries, Batavia outfielders Steve Busby, Willie Firth and Joey Gross, first baseman Mitch Boyer and catcher Matt Musielak all missed last week's 3-game UEC River sweep at the hands of St. Charles East in which the Bulldogs were held to 6 runs. With those five regulars in the lineup for 3 games against Larkin, the Bulldogs scored 25 runs to sweep.
"We had five guys out at the same time so now we're happy to be back and playing ball," Batavia coach Matt Holm said.
Offensively, Firth went 2-for-3 with a double and 2 RBI, Busby had a triple among his 2 hits and drove in 2 runs, Boyer doubled and drove in a pair and Andrew Costigan finished 4-for-4 with a walk, a triple and 2 runs scored.