In a game controlled by pitching, St. Charles North scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth to defeat Geneva 3-1 in a makeup Upstate Eight Conference River Division game Wednesday in St. Charles.
With one out, Riley Coomes took first base on a hit-by-pitch and starting pitcher Cory Wright singled, advancing Coomes to second. North Stars coach Todd Genke then ran Tim Hausel for Wright and Kyle Khoury for Coomes. Jack Dennis, who already had an RBI single in the fourth inning, drilled a double to deep center field, scoring both runners.
"It was just my day to step up," said Dennis. "The pitch was right down there and I knew I could just time it."
Following another hit-by-pitch, Joe Kuczek relieved Geneva starter Max Novak. Kuczek struck out his first batter, walked Nick Drawant, and induced a fly-out with the bases loaded, keeping Geneva (7-8, 4-6) within striking distance going to the seventh.
"That's a nice job against a nice team," said Vikings coach Matt Hahn said of both his pitchers. "For Ben to come in at the end in a tough situation and to give us a chance, I thought that was good."
In the top of the seventh, pinch-hitter Jake Weede reached on an error, but was retired on a swiftly turned 6-4-3 double play. Catcher Steffen Graham then singled, and Genke went to the mound to consult with Wright.
"I said we have an open base and we want to be careful with this kid (Nick Derr)," Genke said. "He wanted to go right at him and that's what I want to see at that time of the game."
Derr drew a walk, but Luke Polishak grounded into a forceout at third for the final out of the game. "We certainly grinded it out, we took advantage of our five hits, "said Genke. "I was very proud of the effort by Wright on the mound."
Wright pitched the distance for St. Charles North (9-7, 5-3), allowing six hits and one run with three strikeouts, improving his record to 3-1. Following the first inning, he never allowed more than four Viking batters to bat until the seventh inning. Drawant reached base all four times, including a hit, two walks, and he also stole two bases.
For Geneva, Derr had two hits, stole a base, and scored the team's lone run. Novak (1-2) allowed three runs and five hits in 5-plus innings.