Baseball: Streamwood rallies for extra-inning win over South Elgin
Streamwood's baseball team kept scratching and clawing during Thursday's Upstate Eight Conference game against South Elgin.
Falling behind 2-0 after 4 innings, the Sabres (9-6, 8-4) scored 3 runs in the fifth to take their first lead, only to watch the Storm (12-3, 10-2) push the tying run across in the bottom of the seventh and force extra innings.
Streamwood, however, answered with 3 runs of its own in the top of the eighth, highlighted by Joey Lunz' RBI groundout and a 2-out, 2-run single off the bat of Miguel Rodriguez. Junior reliever Nick Weaver escaped a bases-loaded, 2-out jam in the bottom half of the frame during the Sabres' 6-3, 8-inning triumph in South Elgin.
"My job was to throw strikes -- I know my guys got my back," said Weaver, who caught for the first 6 innings before being summoned with a runner on first and nobody out in the bottom of the seventh.
"Nick texted me last night and said he wanted the opportunity to shut the door," said Sabres coach Dan Jennings. "It's tough to come in (in the seventh) without a clean inning but he shut the door when he needed to."
In the eighth, Sabres junior Josh Wilder led off a walk and Antonio Alanis (2 for 4) followed with a single.
After an infield popup, Richard Santiago (3 for 4) laid down a bunt single to load the bases for Joey Lunz.
Lunz, who had struck out in his two previous at-bats, drove in the eventual game-winning run with a groundball that South Elgin third baseman Ben Karpowicz made a diving stop and throw to first for the second out of the inning.
"Joey is sometimes a defensive replacement but he's getting more at-bats as a junior," said Jennings. "He needed to make contact there and he did.
"Our approach at the plate has changed because we were a big strikeout team up until the Larkin series. We're doing things with two strikes, and we're doing things against certain pitchers. Our guys have really responded."
Following an intentional walk, Miguel Rodriguez (2 for 4, 3 RBI) delivered a clutch 2-run single to extend the lead to 6-3.
"Heck of a job by Joey, and by Miguel to get those two more runs," said Jennings. "We needed them."
South Elgin had tied the game at 3-all in the seventh on a bases-loaded walk to Karpowicz (1 for 2, 2 RBI) before Weaver fanned the next two Storm batters to force extra innings.
"We didn't come through," said South Elgin coach Jim Kating. "Our mental approach toward things -- you've got to put that ball in play, and we didn't execute.
"We had our opportunities, and we didn't take advantage of them."
Streamwood, which opened the 3-game series with a 3-2 victory Tuesday before dropping a 7-0 decision Wednesday, gained the series win with Thursday's triumph.
"This is a huge program win," said Jennings, whose team received a strong 6-inning start from Eric Arroyo (4 walks, 7 strikeouts). "You want to downplay some things but they're (Storm) the tops in our conference. Jim (Kating) does a great job with them so for us to beat them twice, it's big."
"They (Sabres) did a very good job in two of the three games against us of executing and coming up with two-out, two-strike hits," said Kating. "They beat us twice with good pitching.
"We're a work in progress. We've got a lot of work to do, and I look forward to the challenge of the kids meeting it."