NORTH AURORA – In the Upstate Eight Conference River Division version of “Survivor,” the Batavia boys golf team gained immunity for another week Thursday with a 155-162 victory over St. Charles North at Fox Valley Golf Club.
Both teams came into the day with a pair of conference losses, leaving them hanging on for dear life in a conference race that will be decided during Wednesday’s Upstate Eight Conference tournament at St. Andrews in West Chicago.
Geneva (6-0) and St. Charles East (5-1) finished atop the division in the dual meet standings.
“I’m just glad that we held our home course, which is kind of a big key,” Batavia coach Tim DeBruycker said. “We didn’t do that against East. If we had done that against East, we would have been sitting right where we needed to be going into conference. Now we have to win and hope that Geneva doesn’t come in second to have a conference title.”
The Bulldogs (5-3 overall, 4-2 UEC River) got a big round from Jacob Piechota to help keep those title hopes alive. Piechota fired an even-par 36 to finish with the day’s low score.
“I didn’t play as well as I should, but I’m still happy that I could help my team bring out the victory,” Piechota said. “My driver was working real well. I was putting real well … but my wedge about 50 yards and in was very below average.”
Despite the pitching problems, Piechota salvaged pars on seven of the holes and finished his round with a birdie on the 480-yard, par-5 third hole.
“Off the tee, I snap hooked my driver into the trees and then I hit a great 6-iron [to within] about 20 feet [of the pin],” Piechota said. “I had an eagle putt and put that to about a couple inches and tapped in for birdie.”
Blake Lawrence shot a 38 for the Bulldogs, Matt Patton added a 40, and Nick Robinson carded a 41.
“Jacob’s playing really well,” DeBruycker said. “We got some scoring from the bottom of our lineup today, which is a good sign.”
A hopeful portent for the North Stars (7-5, 3-3) heading into postseason play was the return to form of No. 1 Raghav Cherala, who posted a 37.
“For some reason, he hasn’t been sharp,” North coach Rob Prentiss said. “He hasn’t been far off, but he hasn’t been at the level Raghav got us used to with the prior three years. So, hopefully, this is a good sign for him going into October.”
Cherala thought he played “pretty solid” Thursday.
“I was pretty consistent,” he said. “I was hitting it just about where I wanted to and made some good putts.”
Cherala didn’t get sufficient help from his teammates as no other North Star cracked 40. Santino Salamone had the second-best score of the day for North with a 41.
Anthony Butir and Jarron Gandy each shot 42s for North.