Geneva shortstop Jack Wasser, left, keeps his eyes on a fly ball during Tuesday's game against Batavia at East Side Sports Complex in St. Charles. | Jeff Krage/For Sun-Times Media
Although Geneva lost the battle, pitcher Bryan Callaly made sure the Vikings won the war.
Geneva lost a back-and-forth game Tuesday with Batavia 5-3, but Callaly then shut down West Chicago on six hits in in a 9-1 triumph that provided the cushion Geneva needed to win the tiebreaker and qualify for Wednesday’s 11 a.m. semifinal against St. Charles North in the second Wood Bat Tournament.
“I just wanted to get the win, no matter what, and try to give us a chance to advance,” Callaly said of the win over West Chicago. “I tore my ACL last fall playing basketball and only have been playing this year for five weeks and I’ve worked hard to get back.
“I’ve gotten stronger and my arm isn’t quite where it was last year but is getting there.”
Callaly needed not only to win, but to hold West Chicago to two runs or less to win the tiebreaker of least runs allowed as Batavia (13-5-2), Geneva (13-11) and West Chicago all had 2-1 records in pool play. The 9-1 win gave Geneva six runs allowed. Batavia allowed eight.
“Bryan would have been one of our better pitchers in the spring,” Geneva coach Matt Hahn said. “He’s going to be a junior and so both of our incoming juniors, Matt Merges [Monday] and Bryan [Tuesday], combined to give up one run between them, which is a really good sign for next spring.”
Callaly struck out six and walked three, and really only ran into trouble halfway through the game once when he allowed three straight hits. He got out of that jam, though.
“Coach told me I was opening up my left shoulder, so I kind of fixed it,” Callaly said. “I was dropping my arm and I noticed and felt like I made a good adjustment. It went pretty smooth after that.”
Jason Croci drove in two runs with three hits to lead the 11-hit offense that took advantage of eight walks.
“This was a game we had to have regardless of whether we won or lost the Batavia game, so it was good to see them bounce back after that loss,” Hahn said.
In the game with Batavia, Geneva trailed 1-0, led 2-1, trailed 3-2, and then tied it in the fifth inning on Nathan Montgomery’s RBI single. But Batavia bounced back with a couple runs on RBI singles by Sean Townsend and Luke Beckmann against Geneva reliever Jack McCloughan.
“We were expecting a tight game against them because when we’re playing them in the spring season, they’re always a good team,” Townsend said.
After struggling early, Batavia pitcher Nick Rogalski went the distance for the victory.
“I was having trouble with my cleats holding so I switched shoes,” he said about the mound on the artificial infield surfaces. “I knew we would come back after that. We have a good offense and our defense is strong.”
Batavia had three hits and three RBI by Beckmann and Willy Firth had a triple and a single and two runs scored.
“One of the things we always talk to our guys about is we’re not just the Bulldogs, but the battling Bulldogs,” coach Matt Holm said. “They’re fighting to beat people, but also fighting for a spot on our roster.
“We’re going to have 23, 25 slots next spring, depending on whether we decide to keep extra pitching. They know they’re competing against each other a little bit, too, so they want to get it done.”