Baseball: Barrington attacks early, holds off Conant
Barrington's quick attack was too much for Conant.
The Broncos scored seven runs in the first three innings and then held on to knock off the Cougars 8-5 Wednesday in Hoffman Estates.
"We had a great game plan going in," Barrington coach Pat Wire said. "We knew what we were going against, Bryce (Loeger) is a fantastic pitcher. Last year he struck out 10 of our guys. We knew he would be around the plate, so we thought we would attack early."
The win gave Barrington, which has won or shared the MSL West title for the past ten seasons, a three-game lead in the West with half the conference season completed.
"That part is nice," said Wire, whose team beat Conant 5-4 on Monday. "We would have been pleased with a split with them. Both of those games could have gone either way."
Barrington (14-5-1, 8-0) got off to a terrific start. The Broncos rattled off four hits and scored four runs in the top of the first to jump out to a 4-0 lead.
Brendan Beale led off with double. He would score on Kade Schneider's single. Schneider would then come in to score on Payton Soske's double.
The Broncos' Dillon Fitzpatrick, who had singled earlier, then scored on a dropped third strike, just beating the throw back home. Ethan Miller, who was the courtesy runner for Soske, scored on an error and Soske, who would pitch 5 and 2/3 innings, had some breathing room.
"It was nice to be back," said Soske, who spent a couple days in the hospital last week with appendicitis.
"It was nice to get a little cushion. It made me more confident."
Conant (14-6, 5-3) got one of those runs back in the second. Angelo Colletta, who had singled to lead off the inning, came in to score on Aidan Kovaka's RBI single to make it 4-1.
Barrington looked to blow the game open when the Broncos scored three runs in the third thanks to three hits and pair of Conant errors.
Fitzpatrick singled and would score on Nick Lacson's double. Lacson would then score as part of a double steal with Patrick Podlesnik with Lacson coming home on a throwing error. Podlesnik scored thanks to the stolen base, a throwing error and then a misplay in the outfield as Barrington surged ahead 7-1.
"I noticed that he was not relying on his fastball as much," said Fitzpatrick, who had two hits. "So I changed my approach and went to right field."
The Broncos added another run in the next inning. Conor Fitzpatrick tripled home Noah Rasmussen, who had singled to make it 8-1.
Conant parlayed two hits and a Barrington error into three runs to climb back into the game.
JJ Gorski reached on an error and would score on Nicholas Nitti's double. After Kovaka was hit by a pitch, both he and Nitti moved up on Jake Parpet's fielder's choice. That set up Logan Gale's two-run single up the middle to make it 8-4.
Conant closed to 8-5 in the sixth. Nitti, who had walked to lead off the inning, came home to score on an outfield error.
The Cougars had an opportunity to get all the way back in the seventh.
After a leadoff walk, Matthew Maize battled for a 10-pitch walk to put runners on first and second with no outs. But Maksymillian Pierga, who came on in relief in the sixth, got a strikeout and a pair of flyouts for the save.
"I felt it was my duty to finish the game," Pierga said. "The fly balls were great. I had to overcome some adversity, but I thought I managed that well."
Conant coach Derek Fivelson said the fast start for Barrington put his team in a deep hole.
"They have a relentless offense," Fivelson said. "Our defense opened up some opportunities for them. I was happy to see we battled back and gave ourselves an opportunity in the last inning."