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La Salle-Peru senior Adam Happ slides safely into home plate during the Cavaliers’ 11-1, six-inning victory over Dixon in a Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference West Division game Tuesday at Veterans Park in Peru. NewsTribune photo/Genna Ord
La Salle-Peru’s Tyler Brovelli (left) dives back to first base on a pickoff attempt Tuesday during the Cavaliers’ 11-1, six-inning victory over Dixon in a Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference West Division game at Veterans Park in Peru. Brovelli had a walk and a sacrifice bunt. NewsTribune photo/Genna Ord
Bret Storm didn’t go as far to say that he was out.
He also didn’t say that he was safe either.
With the La Salle-Peru baseball team tied with Dixon in fourth inning of Tuesday’s Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference West Division game, Storm hit a dribbler to the right side of the infield.
With the Dukes pitcher forced to cover first base, Storm was called safe at first despite appearing to be out.
The two-out infield single scored designated hitter Andres Martinez to give L-P the lead, and the Cavaliers tacked on three more two-out runs in the inning to propel themselves to an 11-1, six-inning victory over Dixon.
“We got the call, that is about it,” Storm said. “When I hit it, I was like, ‘Alright, I’m just going to hustle and try to beat this out.’ I thought it was going to get through, but then when I saw the second baseman get to it, I tried to find the extra gear.
“If you get the call, you get the call, and if you don’t, you don’t. It’s just one of those things. (That call) sparked the inning ultimately, but it was a bang-bang play.”
If Storm was called out as it appeared, the game would’ve been tied 1-1 entering the fifth inning.
Instead, L-P had a five-run fourth inning and was able to add nine more runs after Storm’s infield RBI hit.
“(After the game), I told the guys we were one call away from not having a five-run inning,” L-P coach Matt Glupczynski said. “It was a bang-bang play that went our way, and if it doesn’t go our way, then we’re tied at 1-1 going into the fifth and who knows what happens.”
Instead, L-P took full advantage.
Two batters after Storm’s hit, No. 3 hitter Austin Smith drew a bases-loaded walk before clean-up hitter Kyle Jenkins drove in two with a bases-loaded single to give L-P a 5-1 lead.
“I think after we were finally able to get off the ‘0’ and make it 1-1, we started to have an approach and a plan at the plate,” Glupczynski said. “Guys became more selective and that led to walks to set the table for good things to happen.”
The Cavs added three more runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth.
Jenkins’s RBI double to the left-field fence with two outs in the bottom of the sixth invoked the 10-run rule.
The victory gave L-P its second straight win over Dixon in the three-game series and improved the Cavs to 5-0 in NIB 12 West play with the final game of the series scheduled for Thursday in Dixon.
Smith allowed three hits and one unearned run in the first inning to pick up the complete-game, eight-strikeout win.
L-P (9-2, 5-0) finished the game with eight hits and nine walks. The Cavs didn’t have a hit until the fourth inning.
“I told them — not to take the wind out of their sails — but we have to start to hit the baseball a lot better,” Glupczynski said. “We have to have a better approach at the plate.”
Smith finished 2-for-3 with four RBIs, while Jenkins had a hit, walked twice and drove in two runs. Adam Happ and Nate Burris each scored three times.
Jared Bell can be reached at 220-6938, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsJared.
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