Baseball: St. Charles East celebrates senior day with victory
One day after clinching the DuKane Conference championship thanks in part to a 7-run seventh inning, St. Charles East's baseball team picked up where it left off Tuesday afternoon against Wheaton North.
The Saints (20-5-1, 17-4) jumped on the Falcons (12-18, 7-14) for 8 runs in the first inning on their way to a convincing 13-5 Senior Day victory in St. Charles.
Wheaton North struck first, scoring a pair of runs in top of the first off Saints' southpaw starting pitcher Gavin Sitarz.
Tyler O'Connor led off the game with a triple and came across on Aaron Holland's 1-out double down the right-field line. Joe Logan added a 2-out RBI single to give the Falcons an early 2-0 lead.
St. Charles East answered, sending 12 batters to the plate in the bottom half of the frame.
Back-to-back walks from Dom LeBlanc and Brett Webbe, Jr., and a throwing error on a stolen base attempt, allowed LeBlanc to score the Saints' first run of the inning.
Ian Paprocki delivered an RBI single to tie the game at 2-2. After Eddie Herrera's infield single and a walk to Jake Liska, Justin Sowa worked a bases-loaded walk to give the Saints a 3-2 lead.
Nicolas Miller and Webbe, Jr. both followed with 2-run singles, and a Falcons' infield throwing error allowed the Saints' eighth run of the inning to come across.
"I loved that approach in the first inning," said Saints coach Len Asquini, whose team sandwiched 4 hits around 4 walks and a hit-by-pitch. "We took what they gave us, hit some balls and scored a big eight runs after giving up the two in the first inning."
Webbe, Jr., one of 6 Saints' in the starting lineup, enjoyed his 2 first-inning plate appearances, coaxing a full-count walk before his 2-run single.
"I didn't want to get too far ahead of myself," said Webbe, Jr. "I was hunting a fastball, but I got a breaking ball, and I wanted to swing. I probably didn't connect the best I could, but it was in the gap, and it worked out."
The Falcons battled back, scoring 3 third-inning runs on RBI singles from Quinn Flanagan and Ryan Burke, and Casey Morrison's RBI groundout to make it 8-5.
St. Charles East added some cushion during a 2-run fourth, highlighted by James Brennan's pinch-hit solo home run, before putting the game away with a 3-run sixth that included Liska's RBI single and a 2-run triple from Justin Sowa.
"Brett (Webbe, Jr.) took advantage of it and Justin (Sowa) got a hold of that one ball for a big triple there," said Asquini. "It was good to see that.
"We were able to do that because of what we've done up to this point. To have a day like this and honor the seniors -- that's even better."
Sitarz got the win, fanning 5 in 2 innings of work, while seniors Tanner Dunfee and Keegan Tracey combined for the final 4 2/3 innings.
"Keegan came in and threw super innings for us," said Asquini.
Logan had 3 of the Falcons' 11 base hits.
"It's tough to spot a team like St. Charles East eight runs," said Falcons coach Dan Schoessling. "I was proud of the way we hung in there. I thought we had a good approach against one of their better pitchers (Sitarz). That's the kind of arm we're going to see in the playoffs, so it's certainly good for us to see that late in the season."