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Batavia baseball's groove extended with sweep of Geneva

GENEVA – The pitching has been there all season for the Batavia baseball team.

Now that the bats are warming up, look out.

The Bulldogs' winning streak reached 11 games Saturday as Batavia swept an Upstate Eight Conference River doubleheader against rival Geneva, 7-2 and 8-1.

"Early on in the year we were kind of in some low-run scoring games," Batavia senior Micah Coffey said. "It's nice to come out and be able to back up our pitching and fielding the way we can with our bats."

The Bulldogs chased both Geneva starters from the game early Saturday as Batavia (20-3-1, 14-2-1 UEC River) enjoyed production up and down the lineup. Combined with Batavia's continued strong pitching and solid defense, consider Geneva coach Matt Hahn impressed.

"There has to be an investigation if they don't get the 1 seed [in the sectional]," Hahn said.

Batavia led, 5-0, after three innings in both games as the Bulldogs' bats heated up quickly on one of the warmest days of the season. The Bulldogs scored five runs in the top of the third in Game 1 as a two-run single by right fielder Kyle Niemiec and two-run double by catcher Dino Simoncelli preceded shortstop Andrew Siegler's RBI single against Vikings righty Max Novak.

The Bulldogs' offensive push resumed with two runs in the top of the sixth, including a solo home run from junior Mitch Boyer. Boyer has impressed in recent games after coach Matt Holm opened up the search for a designated hitter. He had two hits in Game 1.

"Mitch looks good," Holm said. "I'm blaming him for me not finding him earlier."

Bulldogs right-hander Colby Green (5-0) allowed five hits in six innings during his Game 1 win, with only one of those hits – a solo home run by Geneva catcher Nate Montgomery – leaving the infield. About the only frustrating element of Green's start was a pair of Vikings reaching on dropped third strikes.

"It's a little annoying but, hey, it's going to happen," Green said. "I know it's tough back there because I caught last year. I know it's tough back there to keep them in play."

Geneva (16-10, 12-9 UEC River) didn't fare much better offensively against Batavia's Game 2 starter, lefty Jacob Piechota. Piechota (6-1) threw five innings and allowed one run on three hits, all singles.

Hahn said Geneva has several slumping hitters after the Vikings were highly productive offensively early in the season.

"We got off to that fast start, and I think we're seeing some better pitching, too," Hahn said. "And that's going to obviously equal itself out."

Vikings left-hander Garrett Davis took the Game 2 loss, lasting four innings. Geneva used relievers James Prisco, Eric O'Loughlin and Jack McCloughan in both games and had Ben Chally throw the seventh inning of Game 2.

Second baseman Jeremy Schoessling went 3 for 4 for Batavia in Game 1 while leadoff hitter Laren Eustace homered to lead off Game 2 and added a double and two walks. Coffey had two hits with an RBI double in Game 1 and supplied an RBI single and walk in Game 2.

"This week we got better each and every day," said Coffey, who has helped fortify Batavia's defense by transitioning from first base to third base midseason. "I'm really happy with the way we're playing right now."

Batavia is in commanding position in the UEC River Race but Holm said the Bulldogs still have work to do, noting that St. Charles East (15-6 UEC River) remains in striking distance.

"With St. Charles East, I'm not counting us having a lead," Holm said. "They've got a couple series against Larkin and Streamwood and I think that they can sweep both of those series, and who know what it turns into. We're not counting anything."

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