MAPLE PARK – The DeKalb baseball team had plenty of chances in a 4-1 Class 3A Kaneland Regional final loss to Marmion on Saturday – it had the bases loaded in the second inning, runners on first and third with no outs in the fourth, and two runners on with no outs in the sixth.
But DeKalb wasn’t able to convert on its opportunities to create a big inning on a day that the wind blew in, not allowing any balls to reach the outfield fence. Marmion was able to convert their few chances, using infield hits and bunts to score all four of their runs in the fourth.
“They executed when they needed to,” DeKalb coach Jake Howells said. “We had chances to score runners and they didn’t. It was frustrating. You’ve got to believe in the end, when it’s two teams that are close athletic-wise, it’s going to come down to who executes, who gets the big hits. They won that battle for sure.”
DeKalb (18-16-1) pitcher Corey Nelson was successful for most of the day. The junior was able to get out of a tough situation in the first inning, when the Cadets had the bases loaded. He allowed just one hit over the next two innings.
The Barbs were able to score one run in the third inning after loading the bases with one out.
But in the fourth inning, Marmion used three bunt singles and two infield hits to score four times.
“[On one of the bunts] there was a miscommunication between Corey and I, but other than that, it was all luck,” catcher Trenton Sopko said. “You can’t really defend those little dribblers. Hard line drives or ground balls were going to be what won the game. Nothing is going over the outfielders’ heads.”
In the top of the fifth, the Barbs had runners on first and third with no outs. But sophomore Jarod Johnson was called for batter interference at second base on a possible double play ball. The Barbs didn’t score in the inning.
DeKalb had two runners on with no outs in the sixth, but it wasn't able to convert.
“We weren’t thinking we needed to score four runs in the fifth inning, but we were thinking we could score one in the fifth, one or two in the sixth, get one in the seventh,” Howells said. “Today, it was going to be really tough to get a big inning. We put ourself in that situation, but we just couldn’t execute.”
It was a sour ending to what had been a successful week for the Barbs, who took down defending state champion Kaneland on Wednesday.
“We had our chances, they just got the job done when they couldn’t,” Sopko said. “It’s bittersweet. We took down the state champions on their home field one game, and couldn’t get the job done in the next one. But we’re still going out on a good note. “