ST. CHARLES – St. Charles North baseball coach Todd Genke called upon small ball to get a big inning.
Holding a 2-1 lead against Glenbard East in the bottom of the sixth inning, the North Stars scored eight runs after having three successful bunts without recording an out. The big inning led North to a 10-5 victory over Glenbard East in the IHSA Class 4A St. Charles North Regional semifinal. A combination of a stiff wind blowing in, along with scouting of the Rams led to an abundance of bunts from North.
“It’s something we try and do all the time,” Genke said. “We can hit with the best of them, we can small ball with the best of them. It’s just another weapon the other team has to defend.”
North starting pitcher Frankie Farry scattered seven hits in five-plus innings of work and gave up one unearned run. Farry was pulled in the sixth inning clutching to a 2-1 lead in favor of Cory Wright. The junior struck out the first hitter he faced and induced an inning-ending double play to end the threat.
That set up North’s big inning.
Catcher Kyle Khoury bunted for a single to start the inning, followed by Nick Drawant being hit by a pitch while showing a bunt. Genke pinch hit Carson Schmitt, who beat out a bunt single to load the bases.
“Some of those bunts, I’m not sure I could have rolled them out there better,” Genke said.
Luke Corcoran beat out a bunt on a throwing error, then Wright smacked a double down the right-field line to knock in two runs.
Wright gave the now-famous “money” sign, imitating Johnny Manziel, back to his dugout while standing on second, an early sign of victory for North.
“That’s our team thing, we do that with doubles,” Wright said, laughing. “We have some fun with it.”
The Rams made the North Stars sweat in the top of the seventh, putting up four runs on an ugly sequence on just one hit because of walks and errors from North.
Wright was limited to one inning pitched because he’s slated to start in North’s next appearance Saturday.
“I really was hoping I wouldn’t have to use him at all today,” Genke said. “He’s such a competitor. Every inning, he’s telling me, ‘Coach, I’m ready.’ But it was nice to only have to use him for one inning.”