ST. CHARLES – The St. Charles East baseball team’s summer ended with a nasty case of whiplash.
Saints pitching was shredded in Thursday’s St. Charles Regional final of the Phil Lawler Phil Lawler Summer Baseball Classic State Tournament, won by Crystal Lake South, 20-7.
After four innings, the Gators led, 8-7, but the visitors’ mastery of East pitching became even more pronounced in the late innings.
“It was batting practice for them,” Saints coach Len Asquini said.
Crystal Lake South’s first three hitters reached base in each of the final three innings, and the Gators’ leadoff batter was retired only once all day.
That happened in the top of the second, the only inning in which the Gators didn’t score at least two runs.
East starting pitcher Adam Eck and relievers Isaac Nimick and John Finn all encountered their share of difficulties against the Gators.
Playing their fourth summer tournament game in as many days, the Saints’ pitching depth was strained, but Asquini said he never would have anticipated the game unfolding so disastrously.
“Those guys we ran out there are not guys that are going to give up 20 runs,” Asquini said. “No way. I know we made a couple defensive mistakes but, I’ll tell you what, they hit the ball hard.”
Crystal Lake South advances to the Elite Eight of the tournament. The Gators will play St. Laurence at 12:30 p.m. Monday at North Central College in Naperville.
Gators leadoff hitter Paul Wille reached base in five of his six at-bats. He said there was little variance among the East pitchers.
“They were just all the same speed, and I didn’t have to adjust to anything,” Wille said. “I didn’t have to adjust, and I was comfortable.”
Making their offensive display all the more remarkable, the Gators (20-3) were without usual cleanup hitter Max Meitzler (travel baseball commitment).
“We’ve hit the ball well pretty much this summer,” Crystal Lake South coach Brian Bogda said. “Twenty runs, though, is a lot.”
The Saints had some nice offensive moments, too, scoring three runs apiece in the second and third innings to tie the score at 6-all.
Right fielder Troy DeFilippis (2 for 3) hit a two-run homer in the third, one batter after Joe Hoscheit (2 for 3) doubled off the wall.
But Gators left-handed reliever Tyler Parquette cooled off the Saints in the later innings and, besides, there was no matching Crystal Lake South’s offensive pace.
One day after shutting down Kaneland, 11-0, the Saints closed their summer slate with an 18-6 record.
“They did very well this summer,” Asquini said. “We’ll talk about what they need to work on for the spring to get a little bit better and to make us better.”