Baseball: Surging South Elgin knocks off slumping StreamwoodSouth Elgin's David Palmer delivers a pitch against Streamwood on Tuesday afternoon in South Elgin. | Karen Naess ~ For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 11, 2012 12:27AM
South Elgin and Streamwood have a history of staging highly competitive games against each other on the baseball field, and Tuesday’s clash between the District U46 rivals was no exception.
Storm starter David Palmer and Sabres starter Richie Gorski were both sharp on the mound, but Palmer ultimately got a bit more help from his teammates in the field and at the plate as host South Elgin notched a 3-1 Upstate Eight crossover victory.
Palmer (3-1) struck out four and allowed only one unearned run on five hits in a complete-game effort. The burly right-hander also got plenty of assistance from his middle infield as second baseman Michael Murphy and shortstop Nevan Jeske turned a pair of double plays. Palmer instigated a third twin killing when he fielded a sharp ground ball with one out in the bottom of the seventh in what turned out to be the final play of the game.
“My coach is always telling me those (double plays) are rally killers,” Palmer said. “A little bit of everything was working for me today. I was just trying to throw strikes.”
The outcome marked more of the same for both teams as South Elgin (6-2, 3-1) won for the sixth time in seven games and Streamwood (5-8, 1-4) lost its sixth out of seven. The result also represented the fifth straight meeting between the teams decided by two runs or fewer as the Storm inched ahead in the all-time series 9-8.
All three of South Elgin’s runs came in the bottom of the third. Jeske started the rally with a leadoff single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and slid home safely on a close play at the plate following an RBI single to left by Ryan Ford.
Michael Murphy came to the plate next and smacked a grounder over first base that rolled into the right-field corner for an RBI double that drove in Ford. Murphy eventually stole third and scored on a fielding error with two outs to make the score 3-0.
“We strung some things together,” South Elgin coach Jim Kating said. “We’ve been doing that the last couple games and getting some timely hitting and clutch hitting.”
The Storm maintained its three-run cushion until the top of the sixth when the Sabres finally managed to make Palmer sweat.
Gorski reached on an error with two outs and was replaced by courtesy runner Matt Harding, who moved to second on a passed ball and scored on Brandon Larkin-Guilfoyle’s RBI single. Alex Morrow followed with a walk and Jeff Weaver reached on an infield single to load the bases, bringing to the plate designated hitter Andrew Mitchell.
Faced with his only serious adversity of the game, Palmer worked out of the jam when he caught Mitchell looking at a fastball over the outside corner of the plate on a full count to end the inning.
“It was close, but (the umpire) gave it to me,” Palmer said. “You’ve got to be thankful for that.”
Gorski (2-1) was the tough-luck loser after allowing two earned runs on five hits with four strikeouts in six innings. Weaver had a pair of infield singles and finished 2-for-3 to pace a Streamwood offense that has struggled of late.
“Richie pitched well enough to win again,” Streamwood coach Steve Diversey said. “Hopefully soon enough our bats and our approach at the plate will come through.”