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Baseball

Baseball insider: Batavia starts to turn around season after slow start

Kyle Niemiec of Batavia throws to first base during the Bulldogs' home game against St. Charles East April 8. Batavia has turned its season around after starting with seven losses in its first eight games.
Kyle Niemiec of Batavia throws to first base during the Bulldogs' home game against St. Charles East April 8. Batavia has turned its season around after starting with seven losses in its first eight games.

After a loss to Jacobs two weeks ago left the Bulldogs with a 1-7 record, coach Matt Holm did not seem too worried. Holm, in his 22nd year in charge of Batavia, knew his team was just starting to get healthy, especially the starting outfield.

“We were just starting to get everyone back at that point,” Holm said of the early season struggles. "Not to mention we didn't hit all that well. We faced some good teams early and when you don't hit, you're not going to win too many games no matter how good your pitching is."

Since the loss to Jacobs, the Bulldogs (7-9, 6-3 UEC River) have won six of eight games, including two Upstate Eight Conference River Division sweeps of Larkin and West Chicago.

Early in the season, errors and a lack of timely hitting proved costly to Batavia, who swept its second straight Upstate Eight Conference River Division series. The Bulldogs took all three games from both Larkin and West Chicago.

Elgin lies ahead with another River Division three game series, which could put the Bulldogs right in the thick of things in the conference race.

Tough nonconference schedule helping St. Francis

The Spartans (9-7, 3-0 SCC) have started strong in the somewhat depleted Suburban Christian Conference. They completed a three-game sweep of Marmion to start this week.

Coach Nick Hall thinks that some of the teams the Spartans played prior to Marmion has helped his team be successful.

"Our record isn't eye-popping, but we have played some really strong competition this year," Hall said. "We played in a few tournaments that had some teams that are nationally ranked, so when you play against good teams like that, it gives you an idea of how you need to play."

After heading to Oswego on Saturday, a three-game conference series with Montini is next on the schedule for the Spartans.

Close games will help Vikings grow

After its biggest two wins of the season Wednesday and Thursday, victories over previously conference unbeaten St. Charles East, Geneva (8-6, 5-4 UEC River) improved to 4-4 in games decided by two runs or fewer.

Coach Matt Hahn has been pleased with how his team has started, and knows that record is not always indicative of how good or bad a team is.

"We have been right there all season," Hahn said. "Most of our losses have been by two runs or less. Actually, most of our wins have been like that, too. I told the guys to not care about the record, but make sure we are ready come playoff time."

That being said, Hahn doesn't expect the remainder of the Vikings' games to be decided any differently. He thinks, although his team is fairly young, that they are learning how to win these types of games.

"When you get into the playoffs, these are the types of games you're going to have to win and types of teams you're going to have to beat."

– Chris Casey, ccasey@shawmedia.com

IN THE GROOVE

Mick Vyzral

St. Charles East, sr., RHP

What he did: The senior pitcher threw his third straight UEC River Division complete game in the Saints' 3-1 win over Geneva on Tuesday.

"When he's mixing them up, hitting his spots, and just getting guys out, he's very efficient on the mound," East catcher Anthony Adduci said of Vyzral.

Cory Wright

St. Charles North, sr., P/OF

What he did: After a slow start to the season at the plate, Wright, who North Stars coach calls the leader of the team, broke out for four hits (three extra-base hits) and scored four times in North's 14-9 win over Bartlett on Friday.

He also threw a one-hit complete game shutout against Streamwood on Wednesday.

HITTING REWIND

Kaneland bats erupt in sweep of DeKalb

The Knights had a total of 34 hits in their three-game Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference sweep of the Barbs. Kaneland (9-7, 5-1 Northern Illinois Big 12 East) also scored 34 total runs in the series and were lead offensively by Nick Stratman's two homeruns.

COMING ATTRACTION

The Battle of St. Charles

St. Charles East (12-4, 7-2 UEC River) will take on the North (14-3, 8-2) in a three-game Upstate Eight Conference series, Tuesday through Thursday, with North hosting the opener and finale.

Both have had strong starts, record-wise, to the season, although the Saints just lost two of three to Geneva and North swept Streamwood. East swept the regular season series between these two last season.

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