PERU — The chilly 20-plus-mph winds at St. Bede Academy didn’t keep the bats of the Bruins from heating up in an 8-3 win over the Bureau Valley Storm Monday afternoon.
Winning pitcher Tyler Marcinkus tossed six scoreless innings for the Bruins, with Kane Clendenen giving up only two runs to collect the save.
Spencer Marquez took the loss for the Storm, pitching four innings, with Andrew Petros coming for relief in the fifth frame.
“We had timely hitting,” St. Bede coach Bill Booker said. “We had a lot of two-out hits. I thought our approach at the plate was a little bit better, but there are still some things we need to work on. It definitely was a good step.”
The first score of the game came via an RBI single by Matt Obmann in the second inning, sending Ben Bernabei home to put St. Bede in an early 1-0 lead.
A three-run third inning stretched out the Bruins’ advantage to 4-0, thanks to RBIs by Dominic Bernabei, Ben Bernabei and Trevor Mooney.
A few critical fielding errors by BV were not helping the Storm’s cause, either, with the breeze seeming to hook out of the way a few otherwise easy catch fly balls, and the glare of the sun seeming be a factor as well.
“We don’t want to make excuses with the wind and cold,” first year BV skipper Ryan Schisler said. “Our guys, that’s what we come to expect with Illinois baseball. Back home, we play up on the hill, so we have this almost every game, so we gotta get used to it.”
St. Bede, on the other hand, seemed to gain momentum with Marcinkus’ dominance on the mound and his defense ready to close out the plays that came their way.
“I like the effort he (Marcinkus) gave me,” Booker said. “Had a little trouble with his breaking ball but spun up his fastball and got ahead of the batters early. Another senior showing great leadership.”
Things started to look up for the BV when Petros took over on the mound for a quick three up, three down fifth inning, but the Storm could not capitalize on it, doing the same on their next at-bat in the top of the sixth.
The Bruins collected their last runs of the game with an RBI triple by Clendenen to score Obmann and Devin Cook, then a sacrifice fly by Mateo Sanchez that sent Clendenen across home plate to bring to the score to 8-0.
The BV bats seemed to rally in the top of the seventh inning when Clendenen took over the hill for the Bruins, with an RBI single from Dylan Harper to score Petros to finally get BV on the board.
A double by Jackson Hanson sending Harper and Gage Aber home seemed to be a rally in the making for the Storm, but three strikeouts delivered by Clendenen sealed the Storm’s fate, getting the save for an 8-3 St. Bede victory.
“Our approach to the plate still has to improve, but I was much happier tonight than I was before,” Booker said. “When you get better, good things can happen.”
Note: The two teams will quickly meet again, with St. Bede (1-1, 1-0) visiting the Storm (0-2, 0-1) in Manlius Thursday.