Waubonsie Valley coach Dan Fezzuoglio watched his team and St. Charles East kick around the baseball for three-plus innings Monday.
So it only follows baseball logic that a Warriors web gem would save the day.
A well-done relay from right field cut down a Saints runner at home plate, thwarting St. Charles East’s seventh-inning rally in Waubonsie’s 6-4 win in Aurora.
“Oh my God. Crazy end to the game,” Fezzuoglio said, adding “We keep things interesting.”
St. Charles East’s first two runners reached in the seventh, the Saints trailing Waubonsie ace Tyler Hasper by three runs.
Brannon Barry roped Hasper’s two-strike offering into the right field corner. But the second Saints baserunner slowed rounding third, allowing the relay from Ryan Strick to second base to get to catcher Luke Marzano on time.
“We practice those relays a lot,” Marzano said. “Heads up by our infield to get that ball in. If he stays at third, they got second and third with nobody out and who knows what happens.”
After a popup, Hasper caught another Saints baserunner straying off third for the game’s final out.
St. Charles East coach Len Asquini, whose team dropped its third straight game, admitted that circumstances led him to force the issue on the bases.
“Once I saw the throw from the outfield go to second, I’m going to go,” Asquini said. “Our offense has been really stale lately, so we have to put pressure on defenses. If we’re hitting, different story.”
Marzano and Drew Ellam homered to back Hasper’s effort – although don’t ask Marzano about his long ball.
Leading off the bottom of the first, Marzano hit a screamer down the right field line, and went full-speed around the bases before a late home run signal.
“I was confused, had no clue,” Marzano said of his second homer of the season. “I just saw coach waving me on, and I kept sprinting. Let the umps make the call.”
Waubonsie (8-4, 4-1) tacked on a couple more runs in the first, benefiting from a pair of St. Charles East errors.
The two teams each committed four errors in an off-and-on drizzle until settling down to play clean baseball the last three innings. Saints starter Kyle Cook struck out six, victimized by three unearned runs.
“Our defense really let us down today,” Asquini said. “All day long Kyle struggled to get a rhythm and find his spots and get a feel for his pitches, but he did a wonderful job keeping us in it.”
His fastball topping out at 87 miles per hour, Hasper struck out three, working around his defense early in the game. Waubonsie has won five of six heading into a three-game series with East Aurora.
“We hit the ball hard in spots, and credit to Tyler for sticking with the defense,” Fezzuoglio said. “Our defense made plays when it had to. We made plays we should have made earlier.”
Marzano and Ben Vietri reached base twice, Vietri doubling in Marzano in the second inning as Waubonsie was staked to a 6-1 lead. Brandon Barry and Jake Asquini each had two hits for St. Charles East (7-5, 3-3), which next up gets a three-game set with Batavia.