The Mettetal brothers — Zach and Tyler — and their St. Charles North teammates seem to have a good grasp on how to hit a wood bat even if BBCore is the bat being used predominantly in amateur play.
On Tuesday, a day after Tyler Mettetal homered twice, his twin brother homered and tripled, driving in four runs and leading the North Stars to an 8-4 victory over crosstown rival St. Charles East to close pool play in the second Wood Bat Tournament at the St. Charles Eastside Sports Complex.
“We’re hitting the ball well right now — I think we can win this tournament with the way we’re hitting,” Zach Mettetal said after the North Stars qualified for Wednesday’s 11 a.m. semifinal against Geneva.
North had 11 hits and Tyler Mettetal came away with the pitching victory with relief help from Sam Hubbe and some late run production from his brother. The Stars have scored 27 runs in three tourney games.
“In the summer guys have been really buying into our philosophy and trying to work counts and get positive, plus counts to hit and also fighting two-strike pitches off,” coach Todd Genke said. “They’ve done a nice job all summer and it’s exciting to see what they’re capable of.”
A three-run first inning on RBI singles by Kyle Khoury and Aaron Simon and an RBI groundout by Zach Mettetal gave Tyler Mettetal a lead the Stars never surrendered. But St. Charles East did make it close.
Trailing 5-2 in the fifth, the Saints (17-9-2) had a double from Max Powers, an RBI single by Austin Reglebrugge and a fielder’s choice RBI from Ryan Schreiner to draw within 5-4.
But in the bottom of the inning, Zach Mettetal greeted reliever Chad Bowen with a leadoff homer run. In the sixth, the Stars (18-1) got Hubbe some breathing room with a two-run triple by Zach Mettetal after a couple fielding mistakes made it possible.
“We didn’t want to fall behind early, but really we were just two defensive plays away from this game being a whole lot closer,” Saints coach Len Asquini said, referring to a throwing error and another infield grounder that might have been an inning-ending double play with more aggressive fielding. “But that’s baseball. Their pitcher attacked the zone better than ours. We just needed to be more offensive and a little more defensive.”
Mettetal and Hubbe combined to hold East to six hits. Starter Kyle Cook took the loss. A two-run error in the second didn’t help his cause as the Stars gained a measure of revenge for being swept in their spring three-game Upstate Eight River series by their rivals.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s summer, spring, wnter, when we play them, we want to beat them,” Genke said. “They beat us up a little bit in the spring. We had our chances to win, but didn’t get it done.
“So this was a nice confidence-builder to come out today in a pretty meaningful summer game and win. We kept adding on to that lead and they came back like I knew they would. But it makes it tough for them if you keep increasing that deficit.”
Earlier, Larkin (3-10) suffered a 5-1 loss to West Chicago and was held to four hits as Tanner Gardon allowed three earned runs and took the loss. Kordell Thomas drove in Larkin’s only run with an RBI single in the top of the seventh. It was the only runs scored by the Royals in the tournament. They finished 0-3.