Geneva rallies late to down Neuqua Valley



By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

GENEVA – It didn’t look good for host Geneva in its Upstate Eight crossover matchup with perennial power Neuqua Valley. The Vikings trailed 3-0, and it could’ve been a lot worse had Neuqua Valley not squandered several scoring opportunities.

Point is, Geneva had little momentum working in its favor. That is, until the fifth inning. The Vikings pushed across three runs to tie it, and then the put the finishing touches on their comeback when sophomore outfielder Jack Wassel delivered a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to give Geneva a 4-3 victory.

Geneva improved to 4-0 on the season, while Neuqua Valley dropped to 1-5 after a rough spring trip to Tennessee.

In the bottom of the seventh, junior second baseman Jason Croci, who had struck the ball well in his previous three at-bats with no hits to show for it, sliced a double down the right field line to lead off the inning. After an out on a failed sac-bunt attempt, Neuqua Valley opted to intentionally walk sophomore shortstop Nick Derr – his third walk of the day. Senior third baseman Ben Chally, who had delivered the big hit in the fifth inning, walked to load the bases to bring up Wassel.

Wassel, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound left-handed hitting outfielder, lifted one just far enough to left field to score Croci for the game-winner. After striking out his first two plate appearances, Wassel finished the game with a pair of sacrifice flies, both to left field.

Chally’s two-run double to left-center field tied the game at 3-3 in the fifth. Chally reached base three of his four at-bats, and then pitched a scoreless seventh inning to earn the victory in relief. Senior Max Novak, a Valparaiso recruit, pitched the first six innings, yielding six hits, three runs with five strikeouts, two walks and three hit batsmen. Derr, a Florida State recruit, went 1-for-1 with three walks. His lone hit, a single through the 3-4 hole, was part of Geneva’s big fifth inning. Derr eventually scored.

Junior OF Tyler Tesmond, senior 1B Matt Peters and junior DH Nick Hilgemann each had RBI singles for Neuqua Valley. SS Mike Riesner, a Bradley recruit, had a one-out double in the top of the seventh inning, but was left stranded on second base.

Right-hander Andy Sommers pitched five solid innings for Neuqua Valley. The SIU-Edwardsville recruit had only allowed two hits through four innings, but Geneva added three more hits in the fifth. He struck out three and walked three.

More in-depth scouting notes from the game will be posted in the Illinois Scout Blog later.  

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