It was not an ominous beginning to the bottom of the 10th inning when the St. Charles East baseball player was tagged out in a pickle play.
"We just barreled up and got another guy on base," St. Charles East coach Len Asquini said.
Colton Conn subsequently drew a walk for the Saints, and courtesy runner Michael Wonderly did the rest.
Wonderly scooted around third base and home after St. Charles North booted a ball in the infield to give the Saints a 3-2 Upstate Eight River victory at East on Thursday afternoon in the third extra inning.
"I had a pretty extended lead," Wonderly said. "I saw the ball was hit on the left side of me. (Asquini) told me to go again. I was running like 120 percent to home. I slid and hit the catcher. Winning the series means everything. Hopefully we can sweep them at Kane County Cougars (stadium on Thursday)."
The River race could not be tighter in the waning days of the regular season.
St. Charles East improved to 20-8, 17-4 on the season; the North Stars fell to 23-4, 14-3.
"It's good to see our team in a game like this," St. Charles North coach Todd Genke said. "It's going to be a very similar game to a regional and sectional."
Kyle Hayes' bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the seventh sent the game into extra innings.
St. Charles East had a golden opportunity to close the game out, but the North Stars turned an inning-ending double play to force the extra session.
"A huge momentum changer for us," Asquini said. "Our kids did a great job of flushing it."
"We got out of a lot of jams," Genke said.
Extra-inning baseball is invariably a strategic encounter.
"We couldn't get a leadoff guy on," Genke said. "They seemed to have a leadoff guy on every inning."
The game ended on the sun-kissed afternoon when Wonderly, a courtesy runner, barreled home with two outs in the bottom of the 10th.
"Once I saw the ball get away from the (St. Charles North) second baseman, we just kept it going," Asquini said.
The Saints' Nick Manthei was the go-to pitcher in extra innings to get the win.
"Our hitting held in there," Manthei said. "I have pitched about 12 times this season. I am mainly a reliever. I haven't lost."
St. Charles North took a 2-1 lead on a Sean Nemetz infield single in the top of the sixth inning.
But the North Stars' miscue in the field was the difference in extra innings.
"That was a routine ball that we need to make," Genke said.