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Prep Sports

Prep baseball: Spartans pull off absolute stunner

FRANKFORT – It only takes one.

The 17th-seeded Romeoville baseball team lived by that mantra on Tuesday, as they pulled off a monumental 2-1 upset against Lincoln-Way East, the top-seeded team in the sectional complex, in the Class 4A Lincoln-Way East Regional semifinal.

Romeoville, now 13-20 overall, will play in the school’s first baseball regional title game in 15 years against the winner of Wednesday’s other semifinal between Providence and Homewood-Flossmoor. The first pitch on Saturday is scheduled for
10 a.m.

There were early indications that it wasn’t going to be a breeze for the top seed. The Griffins went with staff ace, Cole Kirschsieper, and he breezed through the first three innings unscathed.

But he was matched practically pitch for pitch by Romeoville starter Hunter Frost. Frost allowed just one hit through the first three innings, a solo home run to Cameron Lee, but if anything that appeared to give the senior hurler even more resolve.

“I just tried to treat it like any other game. You know who you are going against, but just working in and out,” Frost said. “We just went out there and made diving plays, and just tried to do the best that you can. It feels great that maybe we can get another photo up as Romeoville rather than our old name, Lockport West.”

Romeoville responded quickly to Lincoln-Way East’s run. Anthony Perez led off the top of the fourth inning with a single, and Joe Selby coaxed a walk, and an infield single by Dylan Scafuri loaded the bases with nobody out. Kirschsieper got a pop out for the first out, but an AJ Cappelletti ground out to first base tied the score at 1.

The Spartans took the lead in the fifth. Michael Bunch slapped a clean single to start the inning and Julian Jiminez sacrificed him to second. Then Romeoville’s No. 9 hitter, Kevin Murphy, found the hole between first and second for a single. Bunch, who showed no signs of stopping, came around third, and when Lincoln-Way East couldn’t come up with the ball cleanly Bunch scored what turned out to be the decisive run.

“Their pitcher is tough, and we knew he was tough, so we came in here prepared to play little game, and do whatever it took to scratch a run,” Romeoville coach Mike Skroch said. “It was just the little things.”

The Griffins threatened briefly in the fifth before Frost shut down the rally with a big strikeout. Frost then gave way to teammate Perez who barrelled through the sixth inning with a pair of strikeouts.

The seventh inning became more treacherous, as he issued a one out-walk and then hit Matt Watson with a pitch to put two on base. After a fly out for the second out, Perez loaded the bases by issuing another walk.

However, Perez was able to bear down and record a strikeout to set off the celebration for the Spartans.

“We play incredible competition in our conference day in and day out. These kids don’t get fazed by anyone,” Skroch said. “I’m just incredibly proud of them.”

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