BATAVIA – In the early part of the season, offense was the last thing the Batavia baseball team would have pointed to as a potential trouble spot.
But entering the final game of a three-game series with St. Charles East, the Bulldogs had scored two runs over the first two games of the series. It was the same song and dance for the first five innings Thursday, with a first-inning run being the only offense Batavia could muster off East left-hander Austin Regelbrugge.
After East scored the tying run in the sixth off Batavia starter Colby Green, plating another run seemed like a tall order considering the Bulldogs’ recent offensive struggles. But in the bottom half of the sixth, Jeremy Schoessling came through with an RBI single up the middle that scored Steven Busby. Schoessling later scored on a wild pitch that made it 3-1, a score that held up as the Bulldogs salvaged a game out of the three-game set.
“Every at-bat you’re looking first-pitch fastball,” Schoessling said of his sixth-inning hit. “I was hoping for a fastball and got it. We had a lot better energy today, you could tell. Last [two] games we’ve been kind of down and they had energy the whole game. Today, we had energy the whole game.”
Batavia (10-3, 6-2 UEC River) looked peppier from the onset, scoring in the first off Regelbrugge to spot Green a 1-0 lead. In the inning, Schoessling doubled to deep left and came around to score on a sharp single that slipped through Regelbrugge’s legs and bounded into center.
Green, who threw a no-hitter in his last outing against South Elgin, was again sharp on the hill but had some help from his defense. The senior right-hander walked the East leadoff man four times but was able to escape unscathed in each instance.
In the fourth, Green walked Ben Smith but got a sparkling diving play from Busby in right to keep East (9-6, 5-4 UEC River) off the board. In the fifth, Green walked Max Powers to start the inning but stranded him at second after consecutive line-outs from Reid Olson and Brannon Barry.
East tied the game in the sixth when Regelbrugge singled and moved to third on a Batavia error before scoring on a wild pitch.
But Batavia’s struggling offense responded. After the first, Regelbrugge held the Bulldogs to just four hits – all singles – before Schoessling’s game-winner.
“When you start the season and you think you’ve got something but you know by the end of the year you’re always changing things up,” Batavia coach Matt Holm said of his team’s recent offensive struggles. “We moved Jeremy up in the order trying to get a little bit more contact up at the top and it turned out to be successful.”
In the top of the seventh, Green again walked the lead-off hitter, prompting Holm to call on Laren Eustace to finish the game. The left-hander induced Mike Settle to ground into a 5-4-3 double-play. Eustace walked Olson before getting Barry to line out to short to end the game.
Regelbrugge took the tough-luck loss for East, needing just 69 pitches to get through six innings. The junior allowed eight hits and struck out two without walking a batter. The East pitching staff allowed just five runs in the three games against Batavia.
“We just couldn’t push across a run today as Colby pitched another nice ballgame,” East coach Len Asquini said. “It was one of the those days where we hit the ball really hard but right at people. A couple of those balls you move it a few feet to the right or left and you got something going there.”
Schoessling’s two hits paced the Batavia offense to support Green, who allowed just two hits while striking out six.