Baseball: Benet notches another series split
More often than not, the best you can hope for is a split in an East Suburban Catholic Conference baseball series.
That's why Benet feels like it's ahead of the curve so far this season.
The Redwings earned their fourth split in five series with Tuesday's 11-8 victory over Marian Catholic in Lisle, hanging on in a slugfest after seizing control with a 6-run bottom of the fifth inning.
Benet (11-10, 7-4) obviously would prefer to be dominating its conference competition, but that's unrealistic. The Redwings have split with St. Viator, last year's Class 3A champion, and Marian Catholic, the 3A runner-up, and still have a series remaining against ESCC leader Joliet Catholic.
Any win is a big one in the ESCC. As ugly as Monday and Tuesday may have been against the Spartans (10-11, 6-6), scratching out a lone victory was huge for the Redwings.
"In our conference there are so many good teams," said Benet third baseman Jack Schneider. "No one's really out of it, even if it's the fifth or sixth inning and you're down 6 or 7 runs. We've battled with a bunch of teams in our conference. We've split with a lot of them. It just shows that anyone can beat anyone on any given day."
Marian Catholic, which beat Benet 12-4 on Monday, built a 4-1 lead in the top of the fourth. The Redwings grabbed the lead for good with a 4-run bottom of the fourth behind a 2-run double by Mike Wymer and RBI from Paddy Hincks and Aaron Staehely.
Leading 5-4, Benet exploded for its 6 runs in the fifth. Schneider cleared the bases with an interesting double that ricocheted off the pitcher's glove and past the center fielder. Staehely added a sacrifice fly.
Even with a 7-run lead, the Redwings found themselves in precarious spots in the top of the sixth and seventh inning. Julian Ledezma and Angelo Cantelo each singled home runs in a 4-run sixth for the Spartans.
Marian Catholic had 10 hits in the final three innings and brought the tying run to the plate in the final two. Tony Adams closed out the final three innings, though, saving the win for Jared Novak.
"I don't care who it is in our league, you have to keep pouring on runs," said Benet coach Scott Lawler. "Our guys for the last couple weeks have shown a lot of grit. They came out and said they were going to get after it today, and they did."
Follow Kevin on Twitter