Baseball: South Elgin wins wild one over Bartlett
Tuesday's South Elgin-Bartlett baseball game had a little of everything: a rivalry, emotions running high, the wind blowing out. There were multiple lead changes and, of course, a controversial call resulting in Bartlett playing the game under protest.
For now, the visiting Storm beat Bartlett, 11-8 in the Upstate Eight matchup.
Home runs by Jordan Green, who also doubled, and Matt Jachim, who had 3 hits from the ninth spot, powered the Storm. Jim Bluemling picked up the win in relief.
The controversy came in the bottom of the sixth. With the Hawks trailing 8-7, Patrick Nelson lofted a fly to deep left center. Center fielder Kyle Steinhofer jumped and appeared to glove the ball as he tumbled awkwardly over the fence. After a lengthy conference, the umpires called Nelson out.
Bartlett coach Christopher Baum argued strenuously that the ball cleared the fence and there was no way to tell whether Steinhofer held onto it, but the call stood.
South Elgin added 3 more runs in the seventh to blunt the call's impact somewhat.
Bartlett still managed to bring the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh. Josh Schuberth and Daniel Krulak led off with back-to-back doubles. Two outs later, Ryan Renella was hit by a pitch, bringing up Jack Sharko as the tying run, but Andrew Shall retired Sharko on a fly to deep center to end it.
"We're starting to play better," said South Elgin coach Jim Kating. "After the second inning, we got a little lethargic and lost some of our energy and allowed them to get back into the game. They were hitting the ball well today. I'm very glad our group persevered."
South Elgin started quickly with 3 runs in the first. Green's 2-run double was the key. Jachim's blast to left made it 4-1.
Bartlett rallied to take the lead in the third. After a Cole Spresser triple, run-scoring singles by Nelson and Krulak and an error, Bluemling took over for Storm starter Matt Kolbus. Mario Prieto greeted him with a moonshot toward the goal post beyond the right field fence.
The Storm got one back in the fifth, then took the lead for good with 3 in the sixth. Green's high blast to left tied it before three walks and an error led to the go-ahead run.
Although technically the non-home-run call didn't affect the outcome, Baum made the case that it changed the momentum at a crucial time.
"We put ourselves in a hole defensively, but offensively we kept ourselves in this game," he said. "That [call] changes the momentum. They're high school kids, they feed off the momentum, and that was a game-changing decision."
Kating, not surprisingly, saw it a bit differently.
"What was explained to me, I saw him catch the ball and go over the fence," Kating said. "Once it goes over the fence, if you have that ball caught, then it's an out. That's how it was explained to me."
Krulak finished with 3 hits, including 2 doubles, for the Hawks. Nelson and starting pitcher Brendan Campbell each had a pair of hits.