By JOSH RIZZO
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
Joe Polak was thrilled the Quincy Notre Dame baseball team won Tuesday.
He was also glad things can go back to normal.
The Quincy Notre Dame freshman went 2 for 3 at the plate and drove in two runs during the Raiders' 7-3 win over Quincy High School Tuesday at QND Field. It helped the Raiders, who beat the Blue Devils 5-2 April 2 at QHS, complete a season sweep.
"On the field, they are our enemy, but off the field, we are all pretty good friends," Polak said.
QND coach Chris Martin hopes the energy from the sweep will carry over.
He hadn't been pleased with the Raiders' effort in their last few games.
"Our challenge now is to put this emotional high behind us after they enjoy it for a couple hours tonight and come out and take care of business against Liberty," said Martin, whose team plays the Eagles at home Wednesday.
"They need to find a way to grasp back on to that energy and take it back out to tomorrow and not play down to the level we were the last couple games and allow us to beat ourselves up."
Being patient at the plate and taking advantage of fielding mistakes sparked the Raiders (12-2).
In the bottom of the first inning, Jordan Chapel reached on an error and advanced to third on a double by Zach Vahle. Polak then hit a two-run single to right-center field off QHS starting pitcher Dillon Gilbert, scoring Chapel and courtesy runner Adam Stupavsky.
Gilbert, who pitched 4 1/3 innings and allowed seven runs, threw a lot of off-speed pitches.
After Justin Tallman singled, Blake Lucey reached on an error and Blaine Wilson singled to score Tallman and courtesy runner Chris Dietrich.
"We executed and did our plan that we've had the whole year," Polak said. "Get ahead on top and keep that drive the whole game."
QHS coach Brigham John said the Blue Devils are still searching for a complete defensive effort. They committed four errors, including two in the first inning.
"We put the ball in play, we were selective at the plate and hit the ball hard," John said. "It's frustrating for us because we have yet to put together a complete seven-inning game without those errors. That first inning hurt."
QHS cut the lead to 4-3 in the fourth. Andrew Eilers opened the inning with a single, and one batter later, Alex Million walked. Vahle, who pitched six innings and struck out five, hit Ben Mero with a pitch to load the bases.
Eilers scored on a wild pitch, and Bryce Unmisig reached on an error, scoring Million. Andrew Hugenberg picked up an RBI when he grounded out to third base.
"They hit the ball well and we had that one inning that was bad," Wilson said. "You have to come back from it, shake it off and come back next inning."
QND didn't wait to respond. Dom Miles scored on a bizarre sequence in the bottom of the fourth.
After reaching on a walk, Miles went from first to third on a wild pitch. After QHS catcher Mason Fairley's throw to third was off, Miles scored to put the Raiders ahead 5-3. QND added two more runs in the fifth. Sam Douglas drew a bases-loaded walk to pick up an RBI, and Chris Dietrich grounded out with the bases loaded to drive in a run.
Martin was pleased to see the Raiders turn things around.
"Up until tonight, we hadn't played good baseball the last few games," Martin said. "It was nice to see us get some mental toughness back tonight."