Baseball: St Charles East wins outright Upstate Eight River title
Updated: May 17, 2012 11:32PM
St. Charles East starting pitcher Kyle Manske gutted out an early injury to earn the complete-game victory as the Saints topped St. Charles North 6-2 on Thursday night at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva, capturing the outright Upstate Eight River title.
With two outs in the top of the first, North No. 3 hitter Jake Johansmeier lined one right back at Manske, catching him square in the ribs on his left side. He gathered himself to get the out before collapsing to the ground with what looked to be a serious injury.
“That was a shocker. I knew Johansmeier is a great hitter and to see that I jumped out of my skin,” said Manske. “I felt it a little bit during the game, I kinda worked with it in the dugout and just ran it off.”
And run it off he did, as Manske (7-1) wound up going the distance for the Saints (21-9, 19-6), allowing six hits and one earned run.
“We weren’t sure if he was going to get back out there, but he manned up and got back out there and threw a really nice ballgame,” said Saints coach Len Asquini.
North coach Todd Genke added: “I’m amazed that he took that ball off the chest. When he collapsed I thought we might be calling 911, so I give him a ton of credit. That showed a tremendous amount of will.”
The Saints got on the board early behind Manske, striking for two runs in the bottom of the second when Tony DeFilippis drove in Luke Ludke with a triple and then scored himself on a passed ball.
They then extended their lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the fifth when Jordan Hayes got things started with a double and North elected to intentionally walk No. 3 hitter Joe Hoscheit to set up the double play.
Cleanup hitter Jon Hondlik made them pay immediately though, as he crushed a double on the first pitch he saw, plating two and putting things out of reach.
“That two-run double really hurt. We tried to walk Hoscheit and set up the double play and the first pitch somehow he’s looking breaking ball and he drove it,” said Genke.
North (23-12, 17-8) cut into the lead with two runs in the sixth when Andrew Kronke scored on a John Brodner double, and Brodner scored on an RBI single from Erik Nelson, but that was all the runs they would manage.
The Saints then put the final nails in the coffin in the bottom of the sixth as Nicholas Erickson drove in Nathan Sharko with a triple and then scored himself on an error.
Johansmeier (4-3) took the loss for North, going five innings and allowing four runs (three earned) and struck out three.
For the Saints, the win means an outright conference title, as they snapped a three-game skid with a win on Wednesday.
Said Manske: “(Winning conference) was huge, it’s not the biggest thing and we need to keep trudging forward into the playoffs, but just today at school I had kids coming up to me saying go get ’em. And this was a pretty big deal living in St. Charles.”