Baseball: Jim Kating wins 100th game, South Elgin halts skid
Updated: May 15, 2012 9:54PM
There are plenty of ways to snap a six-game losing streak in baseball, and Tuesday South Elgin chose the highly dramatic method.
The Storm came back from a 4-0 deficit in the final two innings against rival Bartlett, while winning pitcher Joe Crivolio set a school record with 14 strikeouts, and coach Jim Kating got his official 100th career coaching victory by beating his old school in an 8-5 Upstate Eight Valley road win.
“The kids came through tremendously,” Kating said after his team beat its chief rival for the sixth straight time dating back to 2010.
Kating came through, as well. With the score 4-2 Bartlett, he made a curious call by ordering a one-out sacrifice bunt by Nicholas Binder in the seventh with David Goins at first after a walk and courtesy runner Ryan Stanci at second after Crivolio had doubled. Nicholas Binder nearly beat out the bunt, but the out left the Hawks with two out and two in scoring position.
David Palmer then lined a two-run, game-tying double in the gap to left-center off losing pitcher Colin Nowak. Andrew Perry, who’d started the rally in the sixth with a two-run home run, then lined a single in the gap to right-center to score Perry with the go-ahead run. After a walk by reliever Tim McKeague to Nevan Jeske, South Elgin’s Chris Bingham provided insurance the Storm (17-10, 14-9) needed with a towering three-run home run to right.
“The way things have been going for us, you put that ball down (bunting) and you never know if a bad throw is going to happen,” Kating said. “If we do it right and advance it, two guys are up in scoring position. It’s a tie game on any hit.
“We’ve got a fast field here. Their kid was throwing pretty well. I liked our chances. I gambled and went for it. You’ve got to try to break the cycle — you’ve got to try something, somehow.”
The seven South Elgin hits in the final two innings came after Storm center fielder Goins had made a spectacular diving catch on the warning track in the left-center gap to take away two Bartlett runs with two out in the fourth, and after Crivolio stood his ground following early damage exacted by Bartlett bats.
The Hawks got a two-run Kyle Garcia single in the second, sacrifice fly by Nowak in the third after Ryan Roszkowiak’s double, and a Robert Smith RBI single in the fourth. But the 14 strikeouts proved huge.
Crivolio seemed to get stronger as the game went on, striking out the side in the sixth, then again in the seventh despite allowing a two-run double by Daniel Gallanis.
“I was determined to keep going,” Crivolio said. “I wasn’t feeling bad or anything when we came around to the sixth and seventh.
“I was using the fastball and then using the changeup to get a lot of the strikeouts, and it was working. We were in a six-game slide and it was really tough on us when we went down 4-0.”
Crivolio walked four and allowed seven hits, but just one hit after the fourth.
“He took a program on his shoulders today and kept us in the game and battled and battled,” Kating said. “It was the best game I’ve seen him pitch.”
Nowak (5-2) took the loss with six earned runs allowed on seven hits despite having a one-hit shutout with 5 2/3 innings in the books — before the first home run of the season by Perry, who was in his third game back after an arm injury.
“We started hitting,” Perry said. “We haven’t been in the last couple games at all, especially with two strikes or two outs. We had big-time hitting and it got us fired up.”
Bartlett (14-18, 10-13) left five runners on in the second through fourth innings despite scoring four in those innings.
“We’ve got to score more runs; we had opportunities,” coach Chris Pemberton said. “Their pitcher was throwing the pitches up there and we didn’t take advantage. We didn’t make contact.
“We’ve got to put balls in play and put the pressure on them.”
As for improving to 100-85 as a head coach, Kating downplayed it, but then added, “It’s nice. I started here (at Bartlett). It was meaningful.”