(Sugar Grove, IL.) – After playing in predominantly chilly temperatures this spring, Waubonsee Community College's baseball team finally got to take the field on a warm and sunny day. With the temperature nearly reaching 70 degrees, the Chiefs' rallied in game two to salvage a split of their doubleheader against Elgin Community College. After Waubonsee's defensive miscues helped the Spartans' take the opener 14-2 in five innings, the Chiefs scored three times in the bottom of the seventh to win game two 8-7 on a walk-off base on balls. Waubonsee's record moves to 3-6 in Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference action and 10-15 overall, while Elgin goes to 11-11 overall and 3-4 in conference play.
In the opener Elgin scored five times in the top of the first with the aide of three Chiefs' errors. Elgin then returned the favor by committing three errors of their own leading to an unearned run for Waubonsee in the bottom half of the inning. The Spartans then tacked on two more runs in the third to grab a commanding 7-1 lead. In the top of the fifth it was Waubonsee's pitching that faltered as Elgin scored seven times, despite getting the ball out of the infield only twice. A pair of Chiefs' relievers walked four batters and hit three more, while allowing just two hits. The Spartans managed a single to left and an infield hit, and also took advantage of another Chiefs' defensive miscue to go ahead 14-1 and put the 10-run, slaughter rule into effect. Waubonsee got a run in the bottom of the fifth as Garrett Goetz smacked a one-out double down the right field line. Justin Sartori then drilled a two-out single to left to score Goetz, but it was too little and too late.
Game two was a different story for a little while as Chiefs' starting pitcher Nathan Bandura kept the Spartans off the scoreboard through the first three innings. The Spartans broke through in the top of the fourth with a double to left center, an error and a sacrifice fly to score the game's first run. Waubonsee tied it in the bottom of the fourth as Hogan McIntosh ripped a one-out double to left field. A few pitches later Grant Lalla laced a double down the left field line to tie the game.
Elgin jumped in front again in the fifth courtesy of a walk and three straight singles to make it 2-1. A wild pitch with the bases loaded plated another run before a solid single to right by Trevor Taus put the Spartans in front 4-1. Moments later Jesse Rico lined the ball off Bandura's foot and it ricocheted in to short right field. The Chiefs' second baseman and right fielder then collided in pursuit of the ball allowing a pair of runs to score on the play to make it 6-1. Eddie Guzman came on in relief of Bandura and struck out the next two batters to end the inning and change the momentum of the game.
A one-out, pinch hit double to right center by Michael Maynard in the bottom half of the fifth plated Mitchell Stempowski to make it 6-2. Two pitches later Julian Spencer ripped a single to center to score Maynard. Goetz then followed with a line shot single to right to put runners on first and third and bring the potential tying run to the plate. McIntosh then lofted a long, sacrifice fly down the right field line to score Spencer while Goetz tagged up and advanced to second base. That became important moments later as he scored on a single to left by Lalla to get the Chiefs within a run at 6-5. Sartori then drew a walk, and both he and Lalla moved up on a pitch in the dirt shortly thereafter. However, Elgin reliever Reece Sowell escaped the jam by getting a strike out to end the lengthy, 45-minute long fifth frame.
Guzman struck out the first two batters he faced in the sixth before walking the Spartans' Jeremy Davis. A stolen base and passed ball put Davis at third a few pitches later, and then Colin Fowich smacked a two-strike pitch to center field to give Elgin an insurance run. Rico came on to pitch for Elgin and retired the side in order in the sixth. Guzman then struck out two more Spartans' batters in the seventh to keep the Chiefs within striking distance.
Goetz then ripped a one-out triple to right center to bring the potential tying run to the plate. Rico induced McIntosh to pop out to third for the second out before Lalla and Sartori coaxed walks to load the bases. Mark Sommers then delivered a two-run single to left field to tie the game as pinch runner Dustin Imanaka narrowly beat the throw to the plate. Cameron Steffen then reached base on a dropped third strike to again load the bases. As daylight was fading Stempowski drew a walk to force in the winning run and set off a Chiefs' victory celebration.
Lalla finished the game 2 for 2 with a double, two runs batted in and two walks. Goetz went 2 for 4 with a triple and two runs scored. Guzman picked up the win in relief going two and two-thirds innings, striking out six, walking one, and allowing one hit and a run.