Baseball: Mayer, Geneva power past Glenbard North

Aiden Mayer's choice to wear jersey No. 23 isn't for the reason one would initially think.

Michael Jordan? Hardly.

Mayer, a Geneva senior, was originally No. 32, but going into the season, that uniform was a size too large.

"I'm not a large player, so I flipped to 23," Mayer said following Geneva's 14-4 victory over Glenbard North on Tuesday.

The 5-foot-10, 155-pounder might not be extraordinarily imposing on the field, but his bat certainly can be. Mayer had three hits and three runs batted in on a busy afternoon to help Geneva secure its second consecutive win in the series.

The right-handed hitting Mayer employs a particularly wide batting stance, stationing his left leg toward the top-middle of the box and his toes angled toward first base. It wasn't always that way.

"A couple years ago, it wasn't always as open," Mayer said. "My brother [Ethan] used to bat with it pretty open. I tried it out, tried it in practice and felt really comfortable. I feel like it helps me with contact and put the ball in-play. Just let it do the work, just find the gaps and [keep going]."

Tuesday's performance is just another example of Mayer's consistency he's shown in his lone varsity season.

"He's stellar. So consistent this whole year," Geneva junior Nate Stempowski said. "It feels like he's been [up] for two years. We didn't expect [much] out of him [initially] and boom, out of nowhere during the first couple ABs, he's hitting the ball consistently. We're all confident [when] he's going up to the plate and hitting the ball.

"He was a grinder. He's in the gym, weight room. When we were in the cages inside, he was just putting great contact on the ball ... he likes outside pitches, so he's hitting it opposite [field]. He puts the ball in play hard, anywhere it goes, and it'll find a hole for you."

The Vikings (5-4, 2-0) and Panthers traded leads through three innings. In the first, Panthers starting pitcher Steve Hobbs reached on a fielder's choice with two on. Sam Palmer, who singled to lead off the game, managed to score on the throwing error to first for the 1-0 Glenbard North lead. The Vikings responded with an RBI single from Kollin Mickelsen the ensuing inning.

In the second, Glenbard North's Raul Ceja reached on an error and Nick Schenkel singled to advance Ceja to third. Lorenzo Filice grounded into a double play, but it pushed across Ceja for the 2-1 Panthers lead. The Vikings added two runs in the third inning, which the Panthers answered by scoring on an error to tie the game at three.

The Vikings eventually broke the game open with a six-run fifth inning, highlighted by Tommy Maynard's two-run single. Before the inning ended, with the bags loaded, Bryce Breon managed to reach on an error by lifting a pitch deep to left. The Panthers dropped it, allowing three runs to score for a 12-3 Geneva lead.

Josh Christman pushed across an RBI single in the fifth for the Panthers (3-6-1, 0-2), but the Vikings managed two more runs in the seventh to complete the convincing victory.

Geneva starter Seth Kisner lasted 4.2 innings, allowed four hits and had four strikeouts. Hobbs was lifted after four innings, allowing six runs on five hits and striking out four.

"Steve is a three-year starter for us. Today wasn't his day on the mound," Glenbard North coach Rich Smelko said. "He gave up a lot of walks [six], but we battled. The walks kind of hurt us a little bit. Early in the game, it might've been a walk, then a wild pitch or a passed ball and then a base hit. They're a good hitting team, so we can't give these guys free bases."

  Glenbard North's Corran Wagner (22) slides safely into second base as Geneva's Sam Seykora waits for the ball during Tuesday's baseball game in Carol Stream. Paul Valade/
  Geneva's Jack Brault (24) crossed home plate for a run and gets a high-five from teammate Bryce Breon during Tuesday's baseball game against Glenbard North in Carol Stream. Paul Valade/
  Glenbard North's Mike Banish gets Geneva's Kollin Mickelsen out at second base during Tuesday's baseball game in Carol Stream. Paul Valade/
  Geneva's John Rueth rounds third on his way to scoring a run during Tuesday's win over Glenbard North in Carol Stream. Paul Valade/
  Geneva's John Frieders slides safely back into first base on a pickoff attempt with Glenbard North's Jacob Christman (11) during Tuesday's baseball game in Carol Stream. Paul Valade/
  Glenbard North right fielder Kaiden Feinstein is fired up after making a diving catch. Paul Valade/
  Glenbard North's Sam Palmer gets ready to receive a high-five after scoring a run against. Geneva during Tuesday's baseball game in Carol Stream. Paul Valade/
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.