Baseball: South Elgin bounces back against Lake Park
Being right in the thick of the title hunt in the Upstate Eight Valley race, South Elgin could not afford to let a 5-0 loss to Lake Park on Wednesday linger.
On Thursday the Storm bounced back with a 6-1 victory at home over the Lancers to stay even with Neaqua Valley atop the division. Junior David Palmer went the distance to improve his record to 6-2.
“Their kid pitched a great game against us (Wednesday),” said South Elgin coach Jim Kating. “He threw over seventy percent of his first pitches for strikes. So it was great to David come right back and do pretty much the same thing today. He did a great job of getting ahead in the count, and any time you can do that it makes it a lot tougher on the opposing team. He ran into a little trouble at the end, but persevered.”
Throwing strikes was definitely the key for Palmer. Of the 86 pitches he threw, 63 were for strikes. He threw a first pitch strike to 24 of 31 of batters he faced. He finished with three strikeouts and no walks (although he did hit three batters over the final two innings) while scattering six hits.
“Coach talks all the time about throwing strikes and how important it is to get ahead of the batter,” said Palmer. “I had real good command of all my pitches. So I was able to hit my spots and mix it up with a little bit of every thing.”
The Storm (15-4, 12-3) jumped on top 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning on a two-out RBI double by Andrew Weedman off the leftfield fence that scored Ryan Ford.
South Elgin then took advantage of three walks and two errors in the second inning by Lake Park to score five unearned runs. It all happened after the first two batters were retired. The next three reached on walks to load the bases. An error on a groundball to short then allowed the first run to score. Palmer and Weedman followed with RBI singles and two more runners scored on a throwing error.
“We stayed patient at the plate and were able to score five runs after two outs,” said Kating. “You can’t let any oppurtunities to score get away and we were able to take advantage of some mistakes.”
Lake Park starter Mark Pall lasted just two innings and took the loss. Only one of the six runs he allowed was earned. Lancer reliever Erik Benhart came in and pitched brilliantly, allowing just one hit over the final four innings while recording four strikeouts and walking none.
The Lancers (14-10, 10-6) scratched out a run in the sixth with a sac fly from Nico Chaidez. Then loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh before Palmer got the final batter to ground into a forceout at second to end the game.
“I still felt good at the end,” said Palmer. “ I just started to lose a little of my control. But there was no way I was letting them take me out. I wanted to finish it.”
The Lancers left nine runners stranded in the game.
“We had three oppurtunities to get the final out in that second inning before the runs scored and couldn’t,” said Lake Park coach Dan Coluccci. “If we make one of those plays it’s a whole different ballgame. But you have to give them credit they took advantage and their kid did a great job on the mound of keeping us off balance,”