Just call Saul. Charlie Saul, that is. The senior first baseman powers Batavia past St. Charles East: ‘I knew I got a good piece of it.’

Batavia’s Charlie Saul prefers the ball out over the plate so he can drive it the other way.

The senior first baseman was in luck Wednesday at St. Charles East.

The wind happened to be blowing out to right-center, which was right up Saul’s alley. He led off the fourth inning with a homer to that spot, giving the Bulldogs a three-run lead.

“I knew I got a good piece of it,” Saul said. “It felt pretty good off the bat. I was looking for a fastball. I like going to the right side. I saw it up and away, got a good swing on it.”

Batavia’s Charlie Saul (22) heads for the plate after hitting a home run against St. Charles East during a DuKane Conference game in St. Charles on Wednesday, May 11, 2022. (H. Rick Bamman / The Beacon-News)

Batavia never scored again, but that run by Saul stood up as the Bulldogs remained in the DuKane Conference race with a 6-5 victory.

“He put a great swing on it,” Batavia coach Alex Beckmann said. “He’s been hot all year. He’s pretty put together a nice year. He’s really the staple in our lineup we can count on.

“He’s a great kid and a great leader for us. We’re happy to have him and happy he’s having a great year.”

Saul also singled and scored in the first inning for Batavia (15-7-1, 11-4). He then singled in a run and scored in the second. And he was vocal at first base, encouraging his team the entire game.

That was particularly true after the Bulldogs coughed up a lead Tuesday to St. Charles East (16-5-1, 13-4).

“We were hungry to keep the lead,” Saul said of Wednesday’s rematch. “We were all dialed in and ready to shut it down.

“I was just really excited for our guys and I love to see us winning. I try to be a leader on this team and get the guys going.”

Batavia’s Jackson Bland (26) puts a tag on St. Charles East’s Seth Winkler (15) for an out at third base during a DuKane Conference game in St. Charles on Wednesday, May 11, 2022. (H. Rick Bamman / The Beacon-News)

Beckmann turns to Saul like checking off a list.

“We count on him for everything,” Beckmann said. “He’s one of our captains — keeps guys in line, keeps his younger brother (Henry) in line a little bit, too. It’s fun to have the Saul brothers with us.”

Batavia took a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the third.

Eric Gonzalez and Austin Winslow drove in runs in the first. Charlie Saul, Anthony Johnson and Kevin Niedzwiedz followed suit in the second.

James Brennan drove in the first three runs for the Saints. He singled in a run in the first and hit a two-run homer in the third. He had hits in his first seven at-bats of the series.

St. Charles East’s James Brennan (35) rounds the bases after hitting a home run against Batavia during a DuKane Conference game in St. Charles on Wednesday, May 11, 2022. (H. Rick Bamman / The Beacon-News)

Seth Winkler added a two-run homer in the fifth to pull the Saints within a run, but they had two runners thrown out trying to steal and hit into two double plays.

“Lot of chances,” St. Charles East coach Len Asquini said. “Our situational hitting was really poor. We didn’t do a very good job at the plate of moving some balls that we need to move on good counts.

“We had some really good counts with some of our better hitters up there. That’s kind of discouraging.”

Nate Nazos nailed down the win for Batavia. He got out of a jam in the sixth when Eric Newberry cut down the potential tying run at the plate to end the inning.

Batavia’s Charlie Saul (22) call timeout after reaching second base against St. Charles East during a DuKane Conference game in St. Charles on Wednesday, May 11, 2022. (H. Rick Bamman / The Beacon-News)

Nazos followed by striking out the side in the seventh.

“Nate did a great job and shut the door,” Beckmann said. “They had some opportunities.”

Charlie Saul also ended the game with a smile on his face. Beating a rival on the road in a close game with all of your buddies will do that.

“It’s just summer baseball, feels like playing with all the guys we grew up playing with,” Saul said. “It’s really fun.”

Paul Johnson is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News.

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