ST. CHARLES – Efficient might be an understatement.
St. Charles East baseball coach Len Asquini thought the term applied to all facets of his team’s 11-0, mercy-rule win against Kaneland in five innings Wednesday in the St. Charles Regional semifinal of the Phil Lawler Summer Baseball Classic.
The Saints (18-5) will host Crystal Lake South at 5 p.m. today in the regional final. The winner advances to the tournament’s elite eight next week.
“Without question, that was the most complete kind of game they could play,” Asquini said. “They ran the bases well, had great at-bats and pitched very well. It was an outstanding day for us.”
While a flurry of 15 Saints hits, including a pair of RBIs apiece from Isaac Nimick and Brian Sobieski, chased off three Knights pitchers, Kaneland coach Brian Aversa admits the cards weren’t exactly stacked in their favor.
After a 1-hour, 20-minute drive to play Harlem in the first round Monday, the Knights were fresh off an upset win over top-seeded Rock Island on Tuesday at Augustana College – a 21⁄2-hour trip each way.
Aversa admits fatigue could have played a large role in the trouncing.
“It does [feel like a crazy schedule],” he said. “But, hey, it’s baseball. We expect to travel a lot. There’s no denying it, we had an emotional win last night. Guys got back at 10:30 at night and had football camp in the morning. It’s hot. We didn’t get the best effort [Wednesday].”
And on a day where a canopy of umbrellas shaded onlookers from the feverish sun, the Saints didn’t allow the heat to lull their bats.
Erupting out of the gates, East piled up seven hits to score seven runs in the first two innings.
Hurling a complete game one-hitter, Saints junior starting pitcher Mike Boehmer seemed to be fazed minimally – if at all – by the heat.
“Yeah, I guess you get used to [the heat],” Boehmer said. “… The worse part is fatigue. Your hands start to sweat and you get a bad grip on the ball at times.”
Retiring the Knights (15-13) in order in three separate innings, Boehmer allowed only two Kaneland base runners to reach second base.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the Saints’ half of the first, Sobieski drove the first pitch he saw to left field, bringing home East’s first two-runs.
Jack DelloStritto capped the scoring in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI single to bring home the Saints’ 11th run.