Baseball: Hampshire holds down LarkinLarkin's Brayden Royse (14) makes a catch for an out during the second inning at Larkin High School in Elgin, Ill., on Monday, March 26, 2012.
| Andrew A. Nelles~For Sun-Times Media |
Updated: March 26, 2012 8:42PM
There have been studies showing the new BBCOR bats being used in IHSA play are considerably less potent in temperatures below 55 degrees.
The 38-degree temperatures Monday when Larkin hosted Hampshire obviously affected the bats, but Hampshire pitcher Shane Hernandez may have had an even bigger impact. The junior right-hander controlled Larkin until his own team’s offense could find a way to break it open against Larkin pitcher Austin Royse in a 9-2 Whip-Purs nonconference win.
“Our emphasis going into this season was get that first pitch over, and Shane does a great job of that,” Hampshire coach John Sarna said. “He’s throwing strikes.
“On a cold day today, with these BBCOR bats, you’ve got to do that and he did what we asked.”
Hernandez (1-0-1) gave up four hits, walked one and struck out four in six innings for his first win.
“Early on my curve ball was working good,” Hernandez said. “Then the inning that I gave up two runs (the second), I got lazy.
“I made some adjustments and got on top of the ball and that’s where I regained my control.”
Larkin took a 2-0 lead in the second when Dylan Ganow doubled after a Brandon Avila walk. Avila scored on Royse’s RBI single, then another run scored on an error.
That was all the Royals (1-2) could manage, though, and Hampshire got those two runs back in its next at-bat when No. 9 hitter Piortr Barnas doubled, moved up on Luke Wians’ single and scored on a perfect squeeze bunt by Sean O’Shea. Then another run came in on Michael Laramie’s ground out.
The Whip-Purs broke it open with a four-run sixth after a controversial play. With one out and two on, Jacob Kuhn was hit by a Royse pitch. Larkin coach Matt Esterino argued that Kuhn turned into the pitch, but it loaded the bases. Then a throw on a ground ball from shortstop Chris Guzeman came in high for the force and catcher Niko Morado failed to hang onto it, allowing the go-ahead run to score. The Whip-Purs then followed with Barnas’ two-run double and an RBI single by Wians.
The Whip-Purs added three in the seventh off reliever Sean Maloney on a two-run double by Tyler Crater and an RBI single by Kuhn.
“We didn’t get enough done,” Esterino said. “We had a 1-2 count and the ump thought the ball hit (Kuhn) and he leaned into it.
“But that’s not the reason we lost. We didn’t execute after that. Austin gets the ground ball (to short) and we throw it high and didn’t catch it. Our accuracy was not where it had to be. We were way too passive, and playing not to lose instead of to win.”
Royse (0-2) allowed nine hits and two of the six runs he gave up were unearned. Hernandez, Brandon Wescher, Crater, Wians, and Barnas had two hits each for Hampshire (2-0-1).
Hernandez got to see the controversial BBCOR bats at their worst from another point of view. He might have had a home run with a different bat in the second when he unleashed a deep shot to left that suddenly died for a fly out.
“You can crush the ball and no matter what, these bats are not good at all,” he said. “I hit the sweet spot on the one ball and I didn’t feel anything. They might as well switch to wood. They’d be better off.”