The St. Charles East baseball team's Saturday doubleheader sweep of two different teams had a turn-back-the-clock feel.
The Saints and the rest of the Upstate Eight used to play true varsity doubleheaders every Saturday as part of the schedule, but the conference switched to a varsity/JV doubleheader format several years ago because bad weather on a Saturday meant teams had to find two makeup dates instead of one. The schedule got backed up.
With this year's schedule already backed up due to multiple weather cancellations, the Saints went old school. They hosted the regularly scheduled game against Bartlett at 10 a.m. and welcomed Batavia for a makeup at 1 p.m. St. Charles East defeated Bartlett 8-0 behind pitcher Connor Dunfee's 5 shutout innings and came from behind to nip Batavia 4-3 on Charlie Charpentier's 2-run single in the bottom of the sixth.
"We played well in the morning, and to play some tough baseball and finish the day with a win is a great way to end the week," Charpentier said.
Against Bartlett (4-7, 3-2), Dunfee was locked in a pitcher's duel with Matt Ande until the fifth, when the Saints (7-5-1, 5-1) erupted for 6 runs on 5 hits. Junior Tom Schroeder's 2-run single made it 3-0. Drew Conn's 2-run single with two outs extended the lead to 6-0.
Schroeder and Clayton Conn each had 2 hits in support of Dunfee (1-1), who held Bartlett scoreless for 5 innings on 2 hits, struck out 5 and walked a pair.
Reliever Nick Manthei retired the side in order in the sixth and seventh innings to complete the shutout.
The Saints took a 2-1 lead against Batavia (9-4, 6-2) on Drew Conn's second-inning single to right field, but the Bulldogs bit back in the top of the fourth against St. Charles East starting pitcher Jeremy Cox (3-2). Michael Niemiec doubled to left-center field to score Justin Pelley and Blake Carlson.
"I was down in the count 1-2 and he threw me a fastball. Lucky me, I guess," said Niemiec, who went 2-for-3 with 2 doubles and drove in all 3 Batavia runs.
The Saints took the lead back on Charpentier's sixth-inning, 2-run single up the middle off Batavia starting pitcher Jared Martin. He had two runners in scoring position, thanks to a one-out double by Schroeder and Kyle Hayes' single and stolen base.
"Coach has been talking about timely hits, so I was just trying to get something on the ground and move the runners because we needed some runs right there," Charpentier said.
The hit made a winner of starting pitcher Jeremy Cox (3-2). The senior avenged a loss to the Bulldogs a year ago by holding them to 3 runs on 5 hits and a walk and striking out 5.
"Glad I was able to come out here and pull it off," Cox said. "I was able to locate with my fastball and I was able to set them up 0-1, 1-1 then pound them with my curve. My curve was on."
Batavia had runners at first and second in the top of the seventh inning, but reliever John DeloStritto induced a hard groundball to third base off the bat of junior Carter Gette. Schroeder, playing third base, made a diving stop to his left, got to his feet and threw in time to end the game.