ST. CHARLES – Tuesday’s game between St. Charles North and Geneva was difficult for even the most ardent baseball fan to watch.
North beat Geneva, 18-8, in six innings in a mistake-filled contest. The teams combined 16 errors in an Upstate Eight River Conference River game.
North Stars third baseman Jordan Bergren ended the two-hour, 20-minute contest in the bottom of the sixth when he singled home John LeGare. The sophomore scored North’s 18th run, giving it a 10-run lead needed to end the game on the mercy rule.
“I think this was the ugliest high school baseball game I’ve been around ever. I mean, as a player and as a coach,” Geneva coach Matt Hahn said. “I think there were 20 errors in the game or close to it. They took advantage more than we did.”
“It wasn’t pretty, that’s for sure,” North coach Todd Genke said. “I kind of felt like it was Wrigley Field out there where no lead was safe. We struggled a little bit defensively. We made just enough plays to keep Geneva at bay because they are dangerous offensively.”
Geneva (9-3, 5-2 UEC River) took an early lead, scoring two runs in the first inning off North starting pitcher Frankie Farry. Farry hit Geneva leadoff batter Jason Croci with the third pitch of the game. Croci scored when Nick Derr (2 for 3) doubled to right field. Ben Chally (3 for 3) plated Derr with a single to left.
The North Stars regained the lead in their half of the inning on a bases-loaded triple by LeGare.
North (12-2, 6-1 UEC River) widened its lead to 10-2 in the second. The North Stars sent 12 batters to the plate and scored seven runs on two hits and four Geneva errors.
The only inning North did not score a run in was the fourth, when relief pitcher Mitch Mergus retired the side in order. Mergus, a recent varsity call-up, replaced starting pitcher Max Novak in the third inning. North added three runs in the third, one in the fifth and four in the sixth.
Genke was impressed with his team’s offense. The North Stars notched 17 hits. Nick Drawant singled four times while Kyle Khoury went 3 for 5 with two doubles and a single.
“I’m really proud of the way we hit the ball today. We exploded offensively,” Genke said. “We certainly have that potential. It was nice to see it happen today. It’s the best we have hit the ball all year. It’s great because they are really getting some confidence, and that is going to takes us a long way.”
“Defensively, it was a little sloppy, but we picked it up when we needed it,” Khoury said. “We got hits when we needed them, so that helped a lot.”
Farry, who was credited with the win, pitched five innings.
“I thought Frankie pitched well,” Genke said. “He had some hard luck with some of the ground balls.”
The two teams meet again today at Geneva in the middle game of the three-game series.
“I told the team this one you erase. Forget about it,” Hahn said. “The score will be 0-0 when we show up [today].”