Baseball: Elgin sweeps pair from St EdwardElgin's Devin Simon (11) flees from St. Edwards Ryan Nudd (2) before being tagged out during the first inning at Elgin High School in Elgin, Ill., on Saturday, March 31, 2012.
| Andrew A. Nelles~For Sun-Times Media |
Updated: March 31, 2012 7:19PM
With sophomores Ryan Sitter and Kiko Mari starting on the mound Saturday in a nonconference doubleheader at home for Elgin against St. Edward, the Maroons hoped to see their offense function immediately to bolster the young hurlers’ confidence.
It did, but wasn’t necessary. The two pitched like seasoned veterans in what was nearly two complete-game efforts as Elgin won 12-2 in six innings behind Sitter, and 7-3 in the nightcap behind Mari.
“They’re sophomores, but they’ve both got a good mount presence and we expect a lot out of them this year,” Elgin coach Dave Foerster said. “They don’t pitch like sophomores.”
Mari (1-0) dominated St. Edward and took a two-hit shutout into the seventh. He hadn’t even walked a batter, and no runners reached base by error — in Game 2 or Game 1 — for St. Edward. But Luke Duffy homered leading off to start a string of four straight extra-base hits. Run-scoring doubles by Jake Koehring and losing pitcher Jack Tierney (3-2) prevented Mari from getting the complete game like Sitter, but flame-throwing senior Drew Bloomquist came on for the final out on two pitches to end the game.
“The meat of their order was coming up and I was hoping to get through it, but it didn’t turn out that way,” Mari said. “I thought it went pretty well overall, though. I’m happy with it.
“I came ready. I was thinking about (the start) the whole week. I was ready to pitch.”
Mari spotted his fastball well throughout the game and walked only one while striking out six and giving up seven hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Elgin (3-2) got him a 2-0 lead in the first on a two-run, two-out single by Andrew Higdon, scoring Jake Bartelt and Gage Teschner after they’d drawn walks off Tierney and moved up on a hit batter.
The Maroons then broke it open with four in the fifth for a 6-0 lead, the final two scoring on Ben Nelson’s single after an error scored a run and Chris Edwards scored on Derek Strohmaier’s double. Elgin added another run in the sixth on Bartelt’s RBI double.
“A big part of it was that we’ve got to throw strikes,” St. Edward coach Tim Dovichi said after the Green Wave fell to 5-7. “Both games today we had chances to get out of the first inning if we throw strikes, but we didn’t.”
Tierney struck out seven and walked three in five innings of work, and only two of the six runs he allowed were earned because the Green Wave suffered through three Game 2 errors.
St. Edward made four errors in Game 1, and sophomore starter Jake Lafrenz (2-1) found himself down 5-0 after two innings because of both the shoddy fielding and his own wildness. He walked leadoff hitter Chris Edwards and hit No. 2 batter Strohmaier before throwing a wild pitch that made it possible for Bartelt’s fielder’s choice ground to score a run. An error scored a run and Devin Simon singled the other run home. Two more errors in the second led to runs and Elgin eventually ended it by the mercy rule with a six-run sixth, highlighted by Nick Turner’s two-run single and a game-ending two-run double by Edwards.
“We’re still leaving some guys on base ant that’s something we need to work on — our situational hitting — but I was pretty pleased with the offense,” Foerster said. “The thing we preach is to put the pressure on the other team and if we’re striking out a lot, then their is no pressure on their defense.”
Strohmaier went 2-for-3 with an RBI and four runs scored in Game 1 and 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI in Game 2, while Higdon went 2-for-4 with an RBI and 2-for-3 with two RBI in Game 2. Bartelt collected three hits, two runs and two RBI on the day, and Edwards scored three and drove in two.
“It never hurts getting the offense going behind us early,” said Sitter (1-0), who struck out nine and walked two, while allowing five hits in six innings. “When I saw the big mumber go up right away I felt a little more comfortable.
“If we can get that kind of offense behind us we’ll win some games.”