STREATOR — Even though the sun was shining when former Interstate Eight Conference rivals Seneca and Streator took to the baseball diamond Friday for a nonconference battle at the SHS Athletic Fields, a strong wind played havoc with the ball.
“It was one of those days where it was like playing at Wrigley Field with the wind blowing out, you never feel like you are out of the game,” said Streator coach Beau Albert. “They (Seneca) were up 7-2, and the message was, 'We've got to get some guys on and chip away and put balls in play, because it is tough for everybody to field it today.' ”
The Fighting Irish jumped out to a four-run lead after three innings of play and went on to a 10-6 win over the Bulldogs here in Streator.
“This is a big win for our program,” said veteran Irish coach Kirk Houchin. “Nonconference-wise, we haven’t been able to get over the hump until tonight. We got beat by Sandwich, and we got beat by Reed-Custer in a 2-0 game.
"Our bats are pretty hot right now, and that is what got us the win, our offense.”
After a scoreless opening inning, Seneca (9-4) scored two runs in the second inning and then touched Streator (3-6) starting and losing pitcher Jacob Bemont (2 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 1 K) and reliever Christian Bedecker (3 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB 3K) for four runs in the away half of the third inning to extend the lead to 6-0.
In that third inning, Irish senior shortstop Sam Grushkin (2-for-3, RBI) began the inning with a single and stole second. Catcher Myles Mitchell was hit by a Bemont pitch and was replaced by courtesy runner Bryan Bingheim. Cole Underhill drew a base on balls to load the bases, and Grushkin came home when Brody Baudino laced an 0-1 pitch to right field for an RBI single to make the score 3-0.
Another walk drawn by junior T.J. Van Ness forced home Bingheim and moved Mitchell and Underhill up a base. A 6-3 groundout off the bat of senior second baseman Ken Sangston chased home Underhill with Seneca’s fifth run of the game. The Irish made it 6-0 when Baudino scored on a wild pitch.
Streator was able to get two runs back in the home half of the third. Vern McKinley led off with a walk and advanced to second on a fielder’s choice by Cade Dutko. The duo were able to move up a base on a wild pitch, and McKinley came home with the Bulldogs' first run when Irish starting and winning pitcher Underhill (6 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 K) uncorked another wild pitch.
Dutko rounded second and scored when Mitchell tried to throw McKinley out from behind home plate, but his throw to Underhill was wide for an error and Streator cut the Seneca lead to 6-2.
Grushkin provided some fireworks in the top of the fifth inning when he launched a 1-0 Bedeker pitch over the fence in left-center for a home run to give Seneca an 8-3 lead.
“It was great to be able to square the ball up early in the season,” Gruskin said after the game. “I always go up to the plate with the idea of hitting the first pitch that I can, and I hit it.”
Trailing 10-5 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Sean McGurk led off the inning with an infield single off the glove of a diving Sangston. A wild pitch by Irish reliever Brayden Roe sent McGurk to second, and he scored on an RBI single by Trevor Sember.
After allowing a single to Brett Dresbach to move Sember to second, Roe was able to settle down and get the final two outs of the game.
Mitchell led the 14-hit Seneca attack by smacking a double and two singles.
Gruskin, Cryder, Baudino and Joey Hatz all had two hits. Sangston added three RBIs.
Sember and Logan Colter had two hits apiece. Mason Telford added a double for Streator.
At SHS Athletic Fields, Streator
Seneca 10, Streator 6
SENECA (10) — Roe 3-0-1-0, Cryder 5-1-2-0, Grushkin 5-2-2-1, Mitchell 4-1-3-1, Underhill 4-1-1-0, Baudino 4-2-2-1, Van Ness 3-1-1-2, Sangston 3-0-0-3, Hatz 4-0-2-0, Bingheim 0-2-0-0. Totals 35-10-14-8
STREATOR (6) — Colter 4-0-2-0, S. McGurk 3-1-1-0, Telford 4-1-1-1, Sember 4-0-2-1, Bedecker 2-0-1-1, Dresbach 2-0-1-0, Schmitt 0-0-0-0, M. Benning 4-1-1-0, McKinley 2-1-0-0, Pierce 1-0-0-0, Dutko 2-1-1-0, J. McGurk 2-1-1-0, Bemont 0-0-0-0, Compton 0-0-0-0, Spears 0-0-0-0. Totals 30-6-11-3.
Seneca (9-4) 024 120 1 — 10 14 1
Streator (3-6) 002 111 1 — 6 10 3
LOB – Seneca 10; Streator 7. 2B – Baudino, Hatz, Mitchell, Van Ness, Telford. HR – Grushkin. GIDP – Seneca 1; Streator 1. SB – Grushkin. CS – Colter.
Seneca ip r er h bb k
Underhill (W, 2-0) 6.0 5 3 7 3 5
Roe 1.0 1 1 3 0 2
Bemont (L, 1-3) 2.0 6 6 6 3 1
Bedecker 3.0 3 2 5 1 3
Compton 1.0 0 0 1 0 0
Telford 1.0 1 1 2 0 1