OTTAWA -- It is not very often a team loses a baseball game due to a foul ball, but it happened to the Seneca Fighting Irish Wednesday afternoon.
St. Bede No. 6 hitter Brandon Pietrowski plated Austin Schwab with a foul fly near the first-base fence in the bottom of the 10th inning as the top-seeded Bruins edged the Irish 7-6 in the first semifinal of the Ottawa Marquette Class 2A Regional at Masinelli Field to end it.
Seneca, the fourth seed, jumped out to a 1-0 lead on an RBI single to left by Dan Hamilton in the top of the second inning. A four-run third, capped by a three-run homer by senior Brian Bergeson, ballooned the Irish edge to 5-0.
“It was a fastball and I put a good swing on it,” said Bergeson, who is considering playing baseball at Joliet Junior College. “It was a perfect pitch for me, right down the middle. It was definitely my pitch.”
“He got all of that,” added Seneca veteran coach Kirk Houchin. “That’s his eighth homer of the year and puts him over 40 RBI.”
“Obviously, the three-run homer hurt us,” said Bruins even-more veteran coach John Bellino. “We are very fortunate to be able to play on Saturday. We were very lethargic at the start but I thought all our pitchers did all right.”
St. Bede, now 18-2, took advantage of its first hit of the game to help fuel a four-run rally in the fifth. Pietrowski rocketed a single off the body of Irish starter Austin Applebee before Jake Postula singled to left. A walk to eventual winning pitcher Damin Smith and a throwing error that allowed a run to score paved the way for a three-run triple that Sam Lucas pulled to right.
Seneca added a run on a throwing error in the sixth before the Bruins staved off elimination via a two-run single by Austin Schwab in the seventh.
“Austin has been a good hitter for us all year,” Bellino said.
“This is how we have been playing the last three or four weeks,” said Houchin, who was the head coach at Mazon for three seasons and an assistant at Seneca for five before taking over the top spot in 1996. “Our play today did not change from the latter part of the season. How we played today was nothing new.
“I feel terrible four our nine seniors,” Houchin added. “They have not had a lot of success over the years. But they put in so much work, playing in the summer and dedicating themselves to the program. This was a team that felt that it could play (compete) with St. Bede and they showed that today.”
Seniors Logan Pifer and Trent Nugent had two singles each for the Irish, who bow out 13-19. Bergeson added a pair of singles to his homer while junior designated hitter Brandon Pasdertz doubled and single. Pifer snared seven liners or fly balls in center. Ryan Schuetz took the loss.
Seneca held a 13-6 disparity in hits.