Baseball: Larkin beats Streamwood amid controversyLarkin's Austin Royse delivers against Streamwood on Thursday in Elgin. | Andrew A. Nelles~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 3, 2012 8:48PM
Larkin prevailed in controversial fashion Thursday when the game-tying run by Streamwood was taken off the board in the top of the seventh inning, resulting in a 4-3 Royals win in Upstate Eight River play.
Trailing 4-1 entering their final at-bat, the Sabres (9-17, 5-12 UEC) got things started with an infield single by Edgar Saldivar. Brent Kiesel then reached on an error to put two men on for leadoff hitter Richie Gorski.
The University of Illinois recruit connected on a 2-1 fastball and hit what looked to be the game-tying home run over the left-field wall.
However, the Royals (8-15, 5-10) appealed that the lead runner on the play missed third base and the umpires called Saldivar out, erasing a run.
“We throw an inside fastball, we got it out over the plate and he hits it for a home run,” said Royals coach Matt Esterino. “I’m just conditioned to look at third base. You’re mad, you’re upset, I called a bad pitch so I’m looking down. I saw the runner watching the home run and I noticed he skipped the bag and I saw that the umpire saw it too, so we appealed and he was out.”
The resulting call led to Sabres coach Steve Diversey being ejected from the game, following a heated exchange with the home plate umpire.
“I’m going to put that (loss) on the umpires, late in the game to get that involved in the game is ridiculous,” said Diversey. “The bottom line is though, we stranded a lot of guys up to that point and it could have been a different ballgame, but how do you end a game on that?”
Despite those sentiments, the game was far from over after that call, as the Sabres used a Brandon Larkin-Guilfoyle single and Alex Morrow walk to chase Royals starter Austin Royse.
He gave way to his younger brother Brayden Royse, and after walking the first batter he faced to load the bases, he got Jeff Weaver to pop up to the third baseman to nail down the save and secure the win.
The Royals got things started with an RBI single from Kyle Newquist (3-for-3, double) in the bottom of the first, but the Sabres tied it in the top of the second on an RBI ground out from Michael Smith.
Things stayed knotted at one until the bottom of the fifth when the Royals added two more on RBI singles from Pete Lennard and Jack Eckholm, before they added what turned out to be the winning run in the sixth on an RBI single from Drew Shore.
Despite his seventh-inning troubles, Austin Royse (3-4) pitched a gem to that point, allowing just five hits and one run through six, as he stranded a runner at third in the third and fifth innings.
“(Austin) got us double play balls when we needed them, and he’s been our most consistent pitcher all year,” said Esterino. “He pounds the zone, throws three pitches for strikes and he’s relentless out there.”
Gorski (2-2) took the loss for the Sabres, going 5 2/3 innings and allowing all four runs, walking three and striking out one.