The St. Charles East baseball team wasn't expecting a strong start, but the Saints are looking for another solid finish.
The Saints finished third at the Class 4A state tournament last spring but returned just two starters this season. Illinois State recruit Brannon Barry and Adam Rojas have carried the Saints through some rough patches, and the younger players are starting to become consistent contributors.
The Saints opened a three-game series Friday against Upstate Eight River rival Geneva with a 10-0 victory. Austin Regelbrugge earned the win with a shutout.
The Saints lost the first game of Saturday's doubleheader 3-2 but rebounded with a 7-3 victory to win the three-game series.
"We've got several new faces this year, but we're right on track," St. Charles East coach Len Asquini said. "We were a hit or two away from winning the first game, but I'm happy with the split. I really like this group. They're working hard. It's a very good group of kids. They believe now."
The Saints (14-8, 10-6 through Saturday) scored four runs in the top of the fifth to pull away in the second game, as Rojas led the way with an RBI double . Adam Eck got credit for the win in game two, and Mike Boehmer pitched five solid innings in the opener.
The Saints returned just two players credited with victories from last season's pitching staff. Eck won two games, and Boehmer had one last season.
"Those two guys were efficient and kept the ball down and hit their spots Saturday," Asquini said. "Mike was a tough-luck loser in the first game. Adam pitched solid in four innings.
"They've both been big for us. We've only had a couple of hiccups. We've had good pitching this season."
Asquini said the team took time to adjust after losing 10 seniors from last season's team, including ace Matt Starai. The Saints open a three-game series with St. Charles North on Tuesday. St. Charles East swept all three games last season.
"They saw from last year that you put in the time and it can pay off, although there is no guarantee," Asquini said. "We're talented, and I think we're setting up for a good run."