AURORA – An expansive Batavia baseball roster is especially heavy on pitchers.
Days like Thursday affirm that roster composition for longtime Bulldogs coach Matt Holm.
Batavia used five pitchers in 13 innings against Upstate Eight Conference crossover opponent Waubonsie Valley. The teams were tied 1-all when darkness suspended play. The game will only be resumed if it ends up affecting the conference race.
“We got a roster of 25 guys, 15 of them are pitchers, and that’s the idea,” Holm said. “We will never run out of pitching.”
Western Michigan-bound left-hander Jacob Piechota pitched eight innings of one-run ball for the Bulldogs but would have been a tough-luck loser if not for a dramatic defensive play from left fielder Reagan McReynolds.
With two outs and a runner on second in the bottom of the eighth, Waubonsie senior Tyler Hasper grounded a sharp single through the hole into left field. A charging McReynolds fired home to catcher Dino Simoncelli, who gathered the throw and tagged out Ryan Strick to send the game deeper into extra innings.
Holm said McReynolds is generally known more for his speed than his arm in the outfield, but with the game on the line, the senior’s throw had plenty of zip.
“It’s great,” McReynolds said. “I wish we could have come out on top, with offensively struggling, but it felt good to help my team out a little bit.”
Batavia relief pitchers Nick Rogalski, Laren Eustace, Ryan Olson and Eric Huizinga combined for five innings of scoreless relief to support Piechota.
While pitching and defense were strong for Batavia (5-1, 1-0 UEC River), it was a forgettable day at the plate against Waubonsie starter Jack Eddy (nine innings) and reliever Nick Drago (four innings).
“I think as a team we’re a very good hitting team, but today, we just couldn’t find it,” McReynolds said.
Wasted opportunities in the late innings piled high for the Bulldogs, who had at least one runner in scoring position in the sixth, seventh, ninth and 13th innings, but couldn’t muster a clutch hit. Batavia also had a pair of runners thrown out trying to steal second base in the 11th by Waubonsie catcher Luke Marzano.
Batavia’s lone run came in the top of the third after a leadoff single by second baseman Jeremy Schoessling. A Steven Busby sacrifice bunt moved Schoessling to second, and the senior scored on an infield error by the Warriors.
Waubonsie (3-3, 0-1 UEC Valley) tied the game in the bottom of the third on an RBI single from junior Ryan Jones.
The Warriors were coming off a 21-8 drubbing Wednesday at the hands of Naperville North but Eddy’s pitching performance set the tone for a drastically better outing against Batavia.
“It was great to bounce back like that but playing 13 innings, we just really wish we could have picked up the ‘W,’ ” Eddy said. “And especially for me, throwing nine innings, I really wish we could have, but oh well. Just get the next one, I guess.”
Simoncelli had a pair of hits for Batavia, including a double to left that almost left the park to lead off the top of the seventh.
Holm said he expects Thursday’s marathon matchup to eventually be resumed.
“It will probably only come down to if it matters for conference standings, which the way we played today, the way we hit today, it’s going to be a tight conference,” Holm said. “I know Geneva’s playing real well and East is obviously always going to be playing well, North’s playing very well. Our division is fantastic.”