Seventh inning rally dashes SCC title hopes

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 14, 2007


Sports Editor

Have you ever heard the saying that something was &#8220so close you can almost taste it?” Well St. Charles fans must’ve nearly had this one altogether digested.

The SCC baseball team was just two outs shy of tasting ultimate victory Wednesday evening in the 2A state championship after defeating Livonia in the semi-finals Tuesday afternoon at the University of Louisiana in Monroe. The Comets held a 4-3 lead in the title game over Menard with one away in the top of the seventh. But that was all turned around with Menard posting four runs in the inning and their pitcher, Jordan Marks, held off the St. Charles batters in the bottom half for the eventual 7-4 final score.

The loss thwarts SCC’s search for the state championship despite qualifying for the state tournament in four of the last five years. They were closer than ever before in this one though as B.J. Cancienne pitched the Comets into a 4-3 lead after six innings while surrendering three hits throughout. B.J. Cancienne led St. Charles in the effort, posting a combined four hits for the semi-finals and finals games and tossing six and a third from the mound in the championship. But the Comets finished up just short of earning the school it’s first ever baseball state title, taking their second runner-up trophy in four years.

The tournament opened play Tuesday for St. Charles with a rain-delayed semi-finals game against Livonia where SCC took a 7-0 lead by the top of the third inning. Starting pitcher Steven Duhe found himself in a jam in the third after walking the first two batters and giving up a grounder that scored the base-runners on an error. Jonathan Bonura came on in relief and got out of the inning. Livonia scored two more in the bottom of the fourth to make it 8-4, but St. charles maintained their lead with offense, totalling a dozen hits through the game.

Freshman Nick Reine came out to the mound in the sixth and used defense to close it out, striking out four of the six batters he faced. Between the three pitchers, St. Charles gave up just three hits in the game and stranded a handful of runners in scoring postion after walking nine.

Kyle Faucheaux went 3-for-4 with four RBIs in the win while Cancienne was a perfect 3-for-3 with one run batted in.

Wednesday’s game was a back-and-fourth battle as the Comets took on Menard. SCC got onto the scoreboard first in a low-scoring affair with a run in the third inning after Philip Sutton batted in Matt Walters, who reached base after being hit by a pitch and stole second. Menard took the lead a half an inning later with two hits to open the side, a sacrifice that scored one and a double that gave them the lead. Cancienne, the starting SCC pitcher, recovered from the fourth inning and held Menard hitless until the final inning. By then, St. Charles had retaken the lead on an RBI grounder by Cancienne, scoring Sutton.

But it all came crashing down in the top of the seventh. With one out already on the books, Menard took advantage of a walk and a hit batter, and added four runs to the scoreboard with four singles. Now down 7-4, St. Charles had a glimmer of hope with their final at-bat when Faucheaux reached on a walk to open the side. But Menard pitcher Jordan Marks ended that threat, getting a sacrifice grounder and a pair of strikeouts from the next three batters.

This year’s success for St. Charles baseball surprised some as the team entered this season with the loss of seven seniors from the 2006 squad that many had ranked as the best in the state in Class 2A. St. Charles will be looking to face those same circumstances for this Summer’s American Legion league and in 2008 as the Comets are set to graduate seven more starters including Jonathan Bonura, Philip Sutton, Matt Eriksen, B.J. Cancienne, Steven Duhe and Matt Walters.