BEECHER | Sam Geraci insisted he was just trying to throw strikes and let his teammates make the plays.
Geraci threw strikes and plenty of them on Friday afternoon. He also had plenty of strikeouts -- 12 -- as Illinois Lutheran beat rival Beecher 5-1 at Sippel Memorial Field in a crucial River Valley Conference game.
"I felt really good out there and my stuff was working," Geraci said. "I know most of their guys and I know they are good hitters, so I was just trying to get them out. To do that, I knew I had to throw strikes."
Beecher went down swinging eight times and four times Bobcats hitters were called out. Geraci struck out at least one batter in every inning. He also retired 16 of the last 17 hitters he faced.
Geraci struck out 13 on April 20 in throwing a one-hitter against Putnam County.
In what was a pitcher's duel between Geraci and Zach Aring, both drove in their teams' first run. Geraci led off the game with a first-pitch home run to right-center field.
"I know Zach likes to work the corners, so I knew I wanted to jump on the first pitch," Geraci said. "I just got a hold of it. I was just trying to make something happen."
Aring drove in the Bobcats' lone run as he doubled in Mike Takacs, who led off the bottom of the first with a double. It was the first earned run scored off Geraci this season.
Aring struck out six and walked one. He was the victim of errors as Beecher (8-7, 6-2) committed six and Illinois Lutheran's final four runs were all unearned.
"We made a couple of mental errors and it cost us," Beecher coach Brandon DuBois said. "The first play in the fifth, we were slow and the runner (Geraci) came home."
Illinois Lutheran coach Mark Kjenstad had a different look on how his team ran the bases.
"We made mistakes and scored off of them," Kjenstad said. "We almost ran ourselves out of a couple of innings, but we got lucky."
Geraci struck out to lead off the fifth, but reached on a dropped third strike. He went to third on an errant pickoff attempt. He scored when Dylan Gould grounded to third and the throw pulled the first baseman off the base.
The chargers added three in the seventh when Evan Falk reached on an error and went to second on a wild pitch. Geraci singled him to third. Geraci broke for second and cause a rundown in which Falk scored. The Chargers added two more runs.