Baseball: St. Charles East has all the answers against Wheaton North

Spotting Wheaton North an early 1-0 lead in the first inning, St. Charles East’s baseball team answered immediately and continued adding some crooked numbers on the board during Monday’s 10-7 DuKane Conference victory in St. Charles.

John Wilson’s 2-out RBI single off Saints starting pitcher Joey Arend gave the Falcons a 1-0 lead before the Saints bounced back with 3 runs in the bottom half of the frame.

Jake Greenspan reached on an infield single, and Arend laced a 1-out single to right before Falcons starter Cale Zoeller retired Nate Moline on a fly out.

Senior third baseman Cole Ridgway then lashed a 2-out triple down the right-field line, sending Greenspan and Arend home — and Ridgway also scored after an errant relay throw to give the Saints a 3-1 lead.

“I was just trying to do my job for the team,” said Ridgway. “I know I had runners in scoring position with two outs — I wanted to put the ball in play.

“I jumped on that first pitch and placed it perfectly down the line and drove in two runs. Rounding first looking at my coach at third base (Saints coach Derek Sutor), I see him waving his arm. I’m running as fast as a I can. and I get to the base and the ball goes by me, and I hear coach yelling to go home.”

After Rich Schilling’s RBI fielder’s choice trimmed the deficit to 3-2 in the third, the Saints answered with 2 runs in the bottom half of the inning on Moline’s RBI single and Drew Zolna’s sacrifice fly, and 3 more in the fourth, highlighted by RBI doubles from Sam Frausto and Arend to make it 8-2.

The Falcons retaliated with pinch-hitter Patrick Dillow’s 2-run single in the fifth to cut the lead to 8-4, but the Saints (5-3, 3-1) bounced back with 2 runs of their own in the bottom half on Arend’s bases-loaded walk and Moline’s RBI infield single.

“We’ve had some games where we’ve hit well, we’ve had games where we’ve pitched well, and we’ve had games where we’ve played solid defense,” said Sutor. “Today, we started to see it all come together.”

The Saints’ first 5 batters — Frausto, Greenspan, Arend, Moline, and Ridgway — each had 2 hits, with Arend, Moline, and Ridgway driving in 2 runs apiece.

Arend, who earned DuKane Conference Pitcher of the Year honors last season, recorded the victory, giving up 2 runs on 2 hits through 4 innings, walking 4 and striking out 6.

“He’s a competitor,” said Sutor. “He’s a guy who wants to step up in those big moments. He’s trying to be the guy for his team. We’re trying to get him to slow the game down.”

The Falcons made things interesting with a 3-run seventh that included consecutive hits from Schilling, Caleb Schauer (RBI double), Jack Speers, and Connor Speers (RBI single), and an RBI single from Logan Straube before reliever Moline retired the final 2 outs with the bases loaded.

“We struggle defensively,” said Falcons coach Dan Schoessling, whose team committed 6 errors. “We’ve got to limit the other teams’ opportunities. I think we’re better than we’re showing defensively.

“We’ve just got to make it happen.”

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