Starai, St. Charles East cools down Batavia

By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

ST. CHARLES, IL – The way St. Charles East senior right-hander Matt Starai pitched on Tuesday against No. 23 Batavia, he shouldn’t need an introduction. By now, he should be a well-known prospect, settled comfortably with a scholarship to play baseball next year.

But the fact of the matter is Starai is more than just under the radar after breaking his left hand last season and seeing little action as a junior.

“Nobody knows about him at all,” said St. Charles East coach Len Asquini. “But he’s legit.”

Starai proved his legitimacy, as he threw a two-hit shutout to cool down one of the state’s hottest teams, Batavia, 4-0, in an Upstate 8 River Division contest.

The sturdily built 6-foot-1, 200-pounder yielded a hit in the first inning and one in the seventh against Batavia (11-2, 5-2), which recently climbed into the statewide rankings. Starai’s fastball sat at 87 mph for the entire game, climbing as high as 89 on a few occasions. As the game progressed, he more confidently threw a 75-77 mph slider that showed some late bite.

For the game, Starai struck out three and walked two. He got several early-count outs as he ran his fastball in on right-handers. Starai improved to 4-0 on the season for the Saints (7-5, 5-2).

“I had confidence in myself,” said Starai. “Last year, with the injury, I worked really hard in the summer and fall to get back to where I wanted to be.”

St. Charles East jumped to a 1-0 lead in the second inning when it executed a double steal, with Brian Sobieski swiping home on the throw. The Saints added two more in the fourth on a suicide squeeze by Erik Anderson and a passed ball, which enabled Sobieski to score again. Nick Huskisson also doubled and scored on the squeeze bunt.

Sobieski led off the bottom of the sixth with a double, and later scored his third run of the game on Anderson’s single.

The offense was more than enough for Starai. Batavia junior left-handed hitting first baseman Micah Coffey smoked an 89-mph fastball up the middle in the first inning. Batavia’s next hit came in the seventh, when Luke Horton gapped a double to right-center on an 87-mph fastball. He was the only runner to reach past first base. Horton advanced no further, as Starai induced two tappers back to the mound, and then finished off the game with a strikeout on a 76-mph slider.

NOTE: More detailed notes on Starai’s performance, and other unsigned seniors, will be in Wednesday’s PBR PLUS Illinois Notebook.

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