SOUTH HOLLAND | Despite some early errors behind him, Seton Academy starter Nick Tanniehill battled through and decided to pick his team up.
Tanniehill pitched seven strong innings of baseball, striking out nine and allowing only five hits, to help lead the Sting to a 6-5 Chicago Catholic Red Conference win over St. Francis de Sales. Tanniehill was also 2 for 4 from the plate and scored one run in the game.
"My teammates were struggling," Tanniehill said. "But I still have to pick them up, and I still have to throw strikes and pitch to contact. Our offense was a little off today, but we came through in the end, so that's all that matters."
Trailing the Pioneers 4-5 to start the bottom of the seventh, Seton Academy's William Thomas doubled to start the inning before the following batter, Ryan Walker, drove in Thomas to tie the game at five. After a pickoff attempt at first was thrown away, Walker ended up on third with still no outs in the inning. St. Francis (10-11, 7-1) then intentionally passed two batters to load the bases. A Montana Dubose hit then plated Walker for the 6-5 late inning win. Walker finished the game with three RBIs for Seton.
"We've got a team full of fighters," Walker said. "It doesn't matter what's against us, we're going to fight back, always."
Pioneer starter Austin Bober pitched into the fifth for the away team but after three hits and two walked batters plated three runs in the fifth, the Pioneer starter was done for the evening. St. Francis' Wes Jones was 2 for 4 on the day with one run and one RBI. Leadoff hitter Michael Roggenkamp was 1 for 2 with a triple and two runs scored.
"He lost a little bit of confidence in the middle of the game," Pioneer pitching coach Bill Schmidt said of Bober. "He wasn't getting the calls that he wanted and that's where he went south."
The win lifts Seton Academy's record to 6-1 in the Chicago Catholic Red Conference. The loss drops the Pioneers to 7-1 in the Red Conference and in a tie with Seton (14-5, 6-1) for first place in the conference. The two teams will meet again on Saturday morning at 11 a.m. at St. Francis with the conference crown on the line.
"We've talked about it all year: not giving up," Seton coach James Thornton said. "Play as hard as you can for as long as you can. This is what the Catholic Red Division is about. It's not Blue and White. They battle, blood, sweat, and tears, we just do it on a smaller level down in the Red."