Ba Baseball: St. Charles East's power beats Wheaton North
St. Charles East's efforts at small ball let them down a few times on Tuesday, but there was enough long ball to offset any deficiencies and lead the Saints to another DuKane Conference victory.
Twice the Saints had runners thrown out at third on steal attempts and in the fifth they couldn't get down a sacrifice bunt after the first two runners reached safely in a 2-2 game. Even so, St. Charles prevailed 6-5 at Wheaton North with Kyle Hayes homering to lead off the game and Jake Zitella blasting a 3-run home run over the wall in left center to break that 2-2 tie in the fifth.
"We did not execute and run the bases very well, but we got some big hits," St. Charles East coach Len Asquini said. "We got the big three-run homer, we got the leadoff homer and then Carter Lasowski with the big go-ahead hit for us. That was huge too."
The Saints (17-7-1, 12-7-1), who had beaten the Falcons 8-4 on Saturday, needed Lasowski's timely hit in the top of the seventh after Wheaton North scored three times in the sixth to draw even. The Falcons almost took the lead in the bottom of the sixth when Trevor Blum singled sharply to left with his team trailing 5-4 and runners at second and third.
After the tying run scored on the hit, Saints left fielder Braden Rood's perfect throw to the plate kept the game tied after Hayes tagged out Tyler O'Connor on a play that featured a big collision and then some excitement as the benches cleared and some words were exchanged.
"We're talking so much about that [collision] but that was a huge throw. That was their go-ahead run right there," Asquini said. "That was just a perfect throw for a kid who has not played outfield. That was our second baseman and we needed help in the outfield. He took fly balls yesterday, we put him out there and he makes that throw."
Zitella, who also doubled in the Saints' two-run first inning, admitted he and his teammates got a little fired up after Hayes was run over while making the tag.
"As you saw, whatever happened at home plate, it got us all heated. We just competed the last two innings and we wanted to beat them," the third baseman said. "It was teamwork. The pitching was great and we beat them."
Wheaton North (12-12, 9-11) will close out its conference slate with its third game against the Saints, Wednesday at St. Charles East. The Falcons erased a 2-0 deficit with single runs in the first two frames, then pulled even again with a 3-run sixth that saw the first four batters reach on walks. A wild pitch and an RBI grounder off the bat of O'Connor closed the gap to 5-4 and Blum's two-out single tied the score and almost put his team ahead.
"We battled. I was proud of the way we came back there in the sixth. We just came up a little bit short against a very good team," Falcons coach Dan Schoessling said. "Trevor takes really good at-bats and sees a lot of pitches. He had a real good approach there and found a hole, but the kid made a really good throw."