ST. CHARLES – St. Charles Post 342 and Wheaton Post 76 had to wait a little bit longer to start their 11th District playoff game Wednesday at St. Charles North High School.
Everyone in attendance waited out temperatures in the 90s with stifling humidity for somebody with a key to arrive to open a locked “safe” that contained a rake, bases and other essentials needed for a baseball game.
But the wait might have been the least frustrating part of the day as Post 342 lost, 11-0, in a contest scheduled for nine innings, but called after seven because of the 10-run mercy rule.
The double-elimination tournament continues for Post 342 (22-9) against either Richmond or Lake in the Hills at 4 p.m. today at Post 76’s field in Carol Stream. Post 342 beat Plainfield on Tuesday in the playoff opener.
Post 76 (24-12) moves on to face either Elgin or New Lenox at 4 p.m. Friday at Post 76.
“I didn’t think we came out to play,” said Post 342 starting and losing pitcher Nick Huskisson. “We didn’t have the focus needed to compete with a team of that caliber. That is all I can chalk this game up to.”
Post 76 got on the board first with three runs in the bottom of the first inning against Huskisson a walk, single, a double, throwing error and a wild pitch.
Post 76 added six more runs in the third, highlighted by a three-run double by Lake Bachar, one in the fourth and another in the fifth to take an 11-0 lead.
Huskisson lasted four-plus innings, giving up 11 runs, 10 of them earned, on nine hits and two walks while striking out three.
He was replaced by Joe Barsanti after pitching to one batter in the fifth.
“I think I got a little predictable out there, and we struggled a little bit defensively,” Huskisson said. “Everything was kind of going their way. We couldn’t catch a break. I don’t know that there were too many hard balls hit. A lot of them were seeing-eye hits.
“You have to go out there and battle whether it is going your way or not. You just have to worry about what you can control. That is the way to live by.”
Bryan Polowy started and pitched seven innings for Post 76, allowing just two hits.
“Run support always is a great thing,” Polowysaid. “It is also a lot easier to pitch when your fielders are backing you up and making plays. You can just relax out there.
“I didn’t warm up as much as I usually do because of the heat and a little pain in my knee. Other than that everything felt good. When I was out there I didn’t think about the heat. I just pitched my game.”
Anthony Bragg doubled in the third and Ryan Thomas singled in the seventh for Post 342.
“He is a crafty kid,” Huskisson said of his counterpart on the mound. “He wasn’t going to overpower too many kids with the fastball. He threw his off-speed pitches for strikes and got us to hit a lot of good first pitches.
“He was able to produce groundballs early in the count. That was effective for him, kept his pitch count down and kept him in the game.”
Polowy said if the game went all nine innings, he wasn’t coming out.
“I felt fine. The mindset was to finish what I started. Luckily, we got out here in seven, but if we had gone nine I would have done what I needed to do for the team.”