Elk Grove's Peter Arbov hit a ball off his ankle harder than he hit the ball to center field. Both were painful, but the one to center hurt Maine West even more.
Arbov's bases-loaded single scored Adam O'Malley to break a 3-3 tie as the Grenadiers held on to beat Maine West 5-4 Thursday in Elk Grove.
"That one off my ankle was the worst one I ever had," said Arbov, who also picked up a win in relief. "I just needed a couple of minutes to get back in the game. I hit a low fastball that just dropped into center."
That ugly play was just one of many in a game that featured 7 errors for both teams and only 2 earned runs.
Elk Grove (6-2) got off to a fast start, scoring 3 runs in the bottom of the first thanks in part to 3 Maine West errors.
Maine West was able to load the bases in the third with just one out. But Ty Lawson got out of the jam without huge damage, allowing a sacrifice fly to Eric Outlaw scoring Sean Russell, who led off the inning with a walk. Lawson then struck out the next batter to end the threat.
Maine West was able to tie the game in the fifth. The Warriors had runners on second and third with two outs thanks to a double by Outlaw. An error by Elk Grove then allowed both runs to score to tie the game at 3.
After Arbov's hit in the fifth gave the Grens the lead, Elk Grove came up with an insurance run thanks to two more Maine West miscues. Austin Shallcross reached on an error. He then stole second and went to third on a throwing error. Shallcross came across on a wild pitch to make it 5-3 after 6.
That run proved decisive because Maine West was able to score in the seventh. Crosley Duckmann doubled with one out and later scored on a two-out single by Outlaw. But Outlaw was stranded at first when O'Malley, who came in to pitch at the start of the inning, struck out the final Maine West batter.
"I was a bit surprised to come in tonight," said O'Malley, who shut out Wheaton North on Tuesday. "But I am happy to do whatever is needed here."
Maine West coach Joe Pederson was disappointed with his team's defensive play.
"I thought (Matt) Swanson pitched well today," Pederson said. "We just made too many mistakes behind him. It's tough. We came out flat and couldn't pick the baseball up."
Elk Grove coach Terry Beyna, whose team made a couple of key errors themselves, was sympathetic.
"There were a lot of mistakes on both sides," Beyna said. "It just came down to who would make one more mistake than make the better play or the better hit."
Despite the sloppy play, Beyna is still happy with his team's play so far this season.
"Overall, with the late start getting out we have played well," Beyna said. "I have been pleased with the effort. We just keep working and hoping to get out here more."